April 13, 2024

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Atlanta’s 911 center backup generator was known to be faulty

A 911 disruption over the weekend in Atlanta got compounded when a backup generator failed.

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A top city official acknowledged to FOX 5 that the generator was found to be faulty during a maintenance check in June. 

The disruption started when a water leak in a downtown building that the city of Atlanta leases shorted wires causing most of the phones to go out. 

There are generators for such an emergency. The first one kicked in around 11 a.m., giving call takers the power to handle calls for a short period. A second source was supposed to activate, but that generator died – cutting off the power and causing calls to drop. 

“The generation did not switch into its second phase when the power went down. And some of those repairs were identified when we did the initial check in June,” Remy Saintil told FOX 5.

A decision was made to relocate the operators and the dispatchers. Initially, a supervisor directed the employees to head south to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. There is a fully operational 911 center at the airport complex.

Evidently, someone at the supervisory level did not know the airport does not have capacity great enough to take in all citywide calls for help. 

So, the 911 downtown employees had to turn around and go to the Fulton county government center where they were able to conduct limited operations. 

As for the number two generator that failed, city officials revealed they will ask the Atlanta City Council this week for funding to make repairs. That request will come five months after the problems were found. 

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