Impact of the June 2012 Derecho on Communications Networks and Services: 'Report and Recommendations'   [open pdf - 739KB]

"In June 2012, portions of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States experienced a fast-moving, destructive windstorm called a derecho, resulting in twenty-two deaths and leaving millions without electrical power. Unlike hurricanes and superstorms, which are generally well-forecast, derechos are more like earthquakes, tornados, and man-made events for which there is little-to-no advance notice and opportunity to prepare. The 2012 derecho severely disrupted 9-1-1-related communications. Seventy-seven 9-1-1 call centers (also known as 'Public Safety Answering Points' or 'PSAPs') serving more than 3.6 million people in six states lost some degree of connectivity, including vital information on the location of 9-1-1 calls, mostly due to service provider network problems. From isolated breakdowns in Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, and Indiana, to systemic failures in northern Virginia and West Virginia, 9-1-1 systems and services were partially or completely down for up to several days. Seventeen PSAPs in three states lost service completely, affecting the ability of more than 2 million people to reach 9-1-1 at all. Even in the context of a storm like the derecho, a large-scale failure of communications -- particularly 9-1-1-related communications -- is unacceptable, and action must be taken to prevent similar outages in the future."

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Federal Communications Commission: http://www.fcc.gov/
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Listed on January 23, 2013 [Critical Releases]