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Alternate PSAP Equipment, Remote Terminals, and Rural Towns

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  • Alternate PSAP Equipment, Remote Terminals, and Rural Towns

    I live in a small rural hilltown (population less than 600, about 250 residences). Our town's phones are connected to a Verizon SLC/Remote Terminal (as described in http://phonefailure.com/) that has batteries good for about 4 hours. In the case of a power outage, Verizon drives a generator truck up to our town to provide power for the phone system. Although this usually works, as we saw in an ice storm in December 2008, sometimes the reason for the power outage also prevents a generator truck from getting through. It took us most of a day to get the trees cleared off the roads enough for our emergency vehicles to get through (it took me 45 minutes to make a 5 minute drive to the EOC at the height of the storm, including waiting for a highway bucket loader to clear a tree that fell just inches from my truck). During that entire day, the town had no dialtone or telephone service, including 911. Fortunately, we had no fires and miraculously no medical or trauma calls during this time.

    In addition, E911 service for our town and the neighboring town usually is routed to a PSAP at the state police dispatch center about 15 miles away. In the event that connection goes down, 911 calls are routed to the alternate PSAP, which is a single phone line connected to that very same remote terminal and terminating at our Public Safety Complex (AKA Firehouse). Right now, that alternate PSAP line is connected to a simple analog telephone at our radio desk (at least we replaced the rotary dial phone it used to be). In the event that the network is partitioned, the state police will send a dispatcher to our town to staff the alternate PSAP (assuming they can get through, and assuming that the RT has power).

    Of course, all the dispatcher will have at our alternate PSAP is an analog phone with no location or caller information and a radio. Which gets me finally to my questions: Does anyone have experience with any low-end systems for displaying E911 ANI or ALI information at an alternate PSAP? Has anyone succeeded in getting Verizon to install a backup generator for an SLC/Remote Terminal?

  • #2
    Originally posted by bhawthorne View Post
    Does anyone have experience with any low-end systems for displaying E911 ANI or ALI information at an alternate PSAP?
    In order to receive ALI info you would need at least one functioning data circuit, typically a Bell 202 4 wire modem circuit back to where ever your telco hosts their database. Any event that would leave your community's remote office in standalone operation would also likely take down this data circuit rendering ALI lookups impossible. It's possible to host your own ALI database, but probably cost prohibitive for such a small community for only a backup PSAP.

    Delivering ANI might be another problem. Typically 911 ANI is delivered to a PSAP on CAMA trunks from an office with an E-911 SR. There is a good chance that your remote office or SLC can't provide a CAMA trunk. Routing all 911 calls to a POTS line during standalone operation might be the best your going to do on this remote office.

    Originally posted by bhawthorne View Post
    Has anyone succeeded in getting Verizon to install a backup generator for an SLC/Remote Terminal?
    Can't say that I ever tried, but have you spoken with Verizon about the fire department connecting one of your generators to the switch as a disaster plan? Chances are the remote has a twist lock or pin & sleeve receptacle to connect a gen set. Maybe offer some place for Verizon to store their gen set around your station so it's close by if needed.

    Good luck.


    • #3
      Wow Dejavu all over again.
      We had many of the same issues in the past and some are still ongoing.

      We are a rural coastal community with a 15 mile peninsula on one side of town and a 20 mile chain of islands on this side with a third 12 mile peninsula sticking off the side of great island. We have a total of 11 SLC"s in town. We would get the 4 to 5 hr battery life and then the slc;s would start shutting down.
      We also have a central office switch station here at the end of the island chain that connects back to the "mainland" feed through a submersible cable. this cable is pressurized to keep out the ocean, and in a long power outage it would get soaked , causing lots of expensive problems for them to fix.
      The central office finally got a generator after the ice storm of 98, which ended up being 9-12 days without power.

      The SLC's however were not being properly PM'd and the battery banks were being put on an extended replacement cycle so they started failing at 2-3 hrs time.
      We had a come to jesus meeting with the regional rep from the owner which is now fairpoint. and explained that having large parts of the community without landline service was not acceptable as it took down the 911 service also.

      Our dispatch center is at the far opposite side of the county 1 1/4 hrs west
      and the SLC failures meant that even if you were linked to the central office the calls wouldn't go anywhere.

      It took a not so subtle hint at filing a written complaint with the PUC to get them to do the deferred maintenance on the SLC battery banks, and in many cases they increased the capacity to at least go 8 hours before they needed to get portable generators out to the SLC's. They also purchased enough new gensets to cover all the slc's in the area, which are assigned to this use only. The local [20 miles inland] service office has them stored along with gas cans and chains to secure them onsite when deployed.

      In the old days Verizon would have the line service trucks sit and plug in the onboard genset to charge up the batteries at one SLC at a time. Great for the employees overtime account, but not very good at keeping the phones working.

      I'd put the question to your state EOC and see if they can get some action from the phone company on maintaining 911 service.

      Good luck
      Last edited by islandfire03; 01-25-2011, 11:06 PM.


      • #4
        Any experts in NFPA 1221 etc dealing with PSAP equipment? Working on concept for regional AFG to upgrade our county PSAP.

        Current POTS - 911 lines into a single operator PSAP with antique phone switch. 911 coordinator says upgrade path is:

        Install t-1 (sounds logical) then
        1.) A VIPER switch (expensive and capacity is way overkill for our call volume) or
        2.) Route calls to an adjoining county's PSAP that has a brand new VIPER, then switch calls to our PSAP.

        Line between the neighbor's PSAP and our PSAP. If fiber does this need to be owned/dedicated? If copper/T-1 does this need to be owned/dedicated (I thnk this is yes)?


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