City Hung Up on Verizon Emergency Calls

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Verizon Wireless customers in Raleigh area trying to contact emergency services faced a different emergency two weeks ago.

Verizon cell phone users could not connect with 911 operators for several hours after the company updated its software. According to the city, Verizon customers could call 911, but neither the caller nor the 911 operators could hear each other.

A statement released by Verizon Wireless spokesperson Karen Schultz said the problem was due to a “planned software update,” and was resolved by 2 p.m.

“We are certain this issue was an isolated incident and will not occur again. We apologize for any inconvenience this issue caused,” the press release stated.

The received calls would have “no voice; they couldn’t hear us and we couldn’t hear them,” said Raleigh Emergency Communications Director Barry Furey.

Furey said the disturbance occurred from about 9 a.m. and had been resolved by the afternoon.

Operators treated each call as a hang-up, and as part of procedure, called each number back to determine if there was an emergency or not.

Furey said the number of affected calls could not be determined due to the frequent volume of received hang-up calls.

“Typically, we get thousands of hang-up calls every week,” Furey said.

Furey said that, of the other agencies that he had been in contact with, Cary’s emergency communications center as well as Holly Springs’ city offices had been affected.

“People didn’t realize it was connected to the same problem,” Furey said.

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