Cumberland Times-News

February 8, 2013

County using backup 911 center

Power failure forces emergency dispatch to move from main facility

jeffrey alderton
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — A power supply failure Thursday forced transfer of Allegany County 911 dispatching from its main facility at Constitution Park to its backup facility at Mexico Farms — but apparently without any interruption in service.

Roger Bennett, chief of the Allegany County 911 Joint Communications Center, said Friday the power failure occurred at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday and 911 operations were then transferred to a secondary communications center at 11400 PPGā€ˆRoad.

All commercial and 911 dispatching lines were temporarily transferred to the Mexico Farms site until repairs at the 911 center could be completed sometime Saturday.

Bennett said the failure of a power supply unit in a console triggered failure of four other power supply units that, in turn, “took out the whole system.”

“This is the first time we ever had a problem of this magnitude, but it’s not uncommon for us to have a technological problem. We have a tremendous amount of technology in the building,” he said.

“We’re prepared for it. That’s why we have a backup facility.”

Bennett said the 911 system is designed to allow transfer of communications to its backup facility without affecting services.

“We used the backup facility for 10 months while our new dispatching center was being built,” said Bennett.

The new 911 facility at Constitution Park was constructed on top of the underground bunker where the Allegany County Emergency Center operated since March 1, 1975, prior to the 911 system.

The state-of-the-art dispatching facility officially opened in April 2010.

Bennett said that Allegany County 911 dispatching may also be easily transferred to emergency centers in Mineral or Garrett counties, if necessary.

“They are part of our loop,” said Bennett.

Jeffrey Alderton may be contacted at jlalderton@times-news.com.