Monday, July 11, 2016

MoCo 911 outage another sign of growth outpacing infrastructure

The failure of Montgomery County's 911 emergency system last night and early this morning is another indication that infrastructure is not keeping pace with residential growth. It also underlined how our elected officials continue to fail in providing the most basic services - removing snow from sidewalks, plowing County roads, properly displaying the American flag on County property, delivering adequate school and road capacity for the development they approve, and now, answering 911 calls.

Most stunning was that the County failed to alert the public, leaving police and fire officials to have to report the outage to citizens. Police and fire accounts tweeted throughout the night. But the official Montgomery County executive branch social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter were silent through the night. Only around 6:00 AM, nearly five hours after basic 911 service was restored, did the @MontgomeryCoMD account retweet a Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services tweet regarding the outage, which reportedly began around 11:15 PM.

Some on social media reported having problems with the 911 system as early as last Friday. No reason for the outage has been released as of this writing.

Given that official announcements from the police and fire social media accounts came more than an hour after callers were reportedly first receiving busy signals, it suggests that the current 911 system does not alert operators when it fails. Whatever the cause, the outage was a deadly threat to the public. When every second counts, in a heart attack or stroke, or in a burglary or a house fire, the extra time to look up the number of the nearest police or fire station could be fatal.

This is the latest example of County infrastructure not keeping up with rapid residential development countywide.

Four years after Councilmember Hans Riemer took office promising to make Montgomery County the cybersecurity capital of the world, it was discovered the County government was still operating on Windows 2000, one of the most vulnerable platforms in the world.

And a damning 2016 State of Maryland audit of Montgomery County Public Schools uncovered a staggering number of cybersecurity weaknesses, leaving student information easily accessible to hackers. Cyber intruders, the audit revealed, could access "any destination on the MCPS network." Eighty-six business partners of the school system improperly have "network-level access to the entire MCPS network." And the installed version of the database holding student information hasn't been supported by its developer since January 2012. Oh, and did I mention that 75% of the workstations tested by auditors didn't have the current security updates downloaded?

While the County clearly needs to get back to basics, what's needed even more urgently are elected officials who can deliver those basic services and functions we elect them to provide.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do we know the reason yet for the outage? It may have nothing to do with growth and infrastructure, although it certainly could have.

Robert Dyer said...

6:18: It's a catastrophic failure of the 911 system. Sounds like it doesn't exactly inspire confidence, and maybe ought to be fixed or replaced before we spend tax money on more frivolous things like the Purple Line and BRT? #BackToBasics #MoCoTermLimits

Anonymous said...

"removing snow from sidewalks, plowing County roads, properly displaying the American flag on County property"

The Litany of St. Dyer is underway once again.

Did Dyer ever call 311 to report his deadbeat neighbors who didn't shovel their sidewalks?

Did Dyer shovel his own sidewalk, or did he just wait for it to melt?

Anonymous said...

The outage notification was sent at 1:25am via Alert Montgomery. Here's the timestamp from the email I got (note it's in PDT):

Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2016 22:25:07 -0700 (PDT)
From: Alert Montgomery
Subject: Alert Montgomery - County 911 System Outage

Anonymous said...

Alert Montgomery sent out emails and texts at 1:25 this morning--not an accurate portrayal.

Elm said...

Big, big story if 911 wasn't working even if for a minute.

Dyer did a good job informing Bethesda residents.

Anonymous said...

Dyer, Dyer, Dyer! You are the biggest "Chicken Little" in the entire DMV, with a touch of Trump thrown in for good measure. Just because of a system outage you want to blame elected officials for the problem. I'm willing to place my bets on the cause as a system fault of Verizon the provider of the service. If you elephant memory has a recall switch, you may remember the series of discussions over the past few years between the County 911 staff and Verizon regarding upgrades and improvements, and the eventually need to switch to newer NextGen technology. If you don't perhaps you should brush up on this prior to firing off a rant. Oh and while I'm here just in case you haven't heard, things across the river aren't as rose as you paint them to be. "McAuliffe announces $266 million shortfall in Virginia budget" How's that for MORIBUND.

Robert Dyer said...

6:44: Just one problem - the outage was over by then. A little late to "alert" the public, wouldn't you say?

Robert Dyer said...

7:35: Anybody who can examine the multitude of examples of rank incompetence and failure by the County's elected officials listed and link to above and then conclude that I'm the one who should be criticized and not them really needs a full psychological evaluation.

Robert Dyer said...

6:57: The outage started at 11:15! Talk about asleep at the switch.

Anonymous said...

What are some examples of your "competence", Dyer? Have you ever actually managed anything in your life?

Anonymous said...

So it took Dyer 1 hour and 17 minutes to report the outrage, er, outage.

Not exactly confidence-inspiring.

#Snoribund

Robert Dyer said...

6:35: Some of the sidewalks in question were in front of COUNTY and MCPS property! Classic Alinsky diversion tactics, but you're struggling, man.

Robert Dyer said...

7:46: How would I know 911 was out? That didn't keep me from being the first to report it. People heard from me before Alert Montgomery! I should be elected to the Council for that reason alone!

Anonymous said...

@ 7:49 AM - That's a good question, Dyer. Just how did you find out?

Anonymous said...

I was able to get the cause of the outage from another website. Thank you Robert for the initial report

Anonymous said...

"Cyber intruders, the audit revealed, could access "any destination on the MCPS network."

Very true. We can and we do.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:57 PM - but that report said nothing about the snow six months ago.

Anonymous said...

This is literally SO STUPID

Anonymous said...

So until we know the source of the problem, placing blame on growth outpacing infrastructure is entirely irresponsible conjecture, especially when presented as fact.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the news outlet who shall not be named actually inquired and was told the problem was a malfunctioning air conditioning unit. Seems like the police need more funding to improve their systems for such an important service. Where should we get the money for it, though?

Anonymous said...

Leventhal has his pet projects to fund. 911 & the police can wait.

Term limits can't come soon enough.

Anonymous said...

That sign looks like it says "BETRAYED BY 'SAVE WESTBARD'".

Anonymous said...

Maybe charging people for the ability to comment is the way to go. Limits the riffraff.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:25 AM - How do you know that the failure of the air conditioning at the 911 center was due to lack of funding?

Anonymous said...

@ 8:29 AM - Charge for comments on a blog that Dyer operates for free?

Anonymous said...

8:32am: nothing is operated "for free".

Though I doubt Dyer is going to shake us down for our pay pal and credit card to read. Leventhal warns us about panhandlers!

Anonymous said...

Another local site is talking about charging to comment.
8:29 must have seen that. Does anyone else remember paying per minute for online time? AOL. Prodigy. Compuserve. Fun times.

Robert Dyer said...

7:57: Where was "another website" during the actual outage? We already knew there was a malfunction 12 hours ago. The question is, how did the Council let the infrastructure to this point, where it's so bad it's putting lives in danger?

Anonymous said...

I'm all for term limits but not if that means Dyer comes close to a seat.

Anonymous said...

Robin F*cker and Robert Dyer are the two best arguments against term limits.

Anonymous said...

Anything that gets the dead wood like Leventhal out is positive. Guy was planning to die in his Council seat.

Anonymous said...

Dyer, your generalization about "the infrastructure" is idiotic. Are you actually interested in fixing the defective component, or just perpetually assigning blame? Keep on cursing the darkness, and never lighting a candle.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the cause was a failed air conditioning unit. Definitely Riemer's fault -- I heard he personally installed that unit himself.

Anonymous said...

What about you, 10:20?
Are you actually interested in fixing anything, or just perpetually assigning blame?

Anonymous said...

Dyer's shill hates it when anyone challenges his hero.

Anonymous said...

Dyer you need more than a head check, they saved the wet sheets from Chestnut Lodge just for you. Your knee-jerkisms are pathetic and make you a local Trump.

Anonymous said...

11:06AM - I make observations. Any intent is all in your head.
Love and bacon, 10:57

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jason Yang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason Yang said...

I think everyone needs to take a bit of a step back. The comments have gotten pretty intense recently.

Anonymous said...

CROOKED HANS, CROOKED HANS, CROOKED HANS! Yells the buffoon in the rat tail hair.

Anonymous said...

1:29 PM Agreed. If the anonymous folks are making a comment they wouldn't say offline to a human being, consider not posting it.

Anonymous said...

@2:42PM, @1:29PM - I agree.
Signed, 12:43PM

Robert Dyer said...

1:03: Your "real journalists" were off-the-air during the entire outage, while I was not only breaking the story, but also providing direct links and phone numbers my readers and social media followers could use to get help during the outage.

Robert Dyer said...

12:18: The paid Guy Fridays for the MoCo political cartel like you actually sound like they are in a very small cult. Your leaders can do no wrong, and meanwhile, the rest of us dealing with the traffic jams, the anti-business climate and inability to call for police or an ambulance during an emergency are wondering if you are nuts.

Anonymous said...

@ 2:42 PM - the relevant questions are

1) Is Robert Dyer a human being? and,

2) Does he have a life off-line?

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing that Dyer is not a 911 dispatcher. Imagine trying to call for an ambulance for a loved one suffering from fibrillation, only to be forced to listen to a 10-minute rant about Hans Riemer.

Robert Dyer said...

6:09: It's also a good thing I'm not an apologist for the County political cartel - I've noticed other media coverage is not giving the time that the Alert Montgomery alerts went out, which was AFTER the outage had ending, not when it mattered most. They're parroting the County government line that suggests the alerts were actually sent out in a timely fashion when they clearly were not. In fact, the County left police and fire officials to scramble to alert the public.

Anonymous said...

So, who told you about the outage, Dyer?

Anonymous said...

The "old legacy print media" has reported that there were two fatal medical emergencies during the time that the 911 system was down. Why hasn't Dyer reported this?

Anonymous said...

Robert Dyer is the best thing to ever happen to Bethesda!

Anonymous said...

Glad Dyer is covering this.

Leventhal just patted the head of his legacy local media friends and they obey.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Dyer has a friend at MCPD. That's how I knew.

Anonymous said...

I guess you would call this version of 911 failure incompetence as well. "D.C. officials investigating 911 system outage". It seems MoCo isn't the only jurisdiction with system problems. But in your myopic world it's gross incompetence and political corruption.