The devastation of Hurricane Sandy will not be soon forgotten. This blog has previously reported on the failings of multiple contact systems that various companies used during the storm. The nation's emergency communication system was put to the test several times over the last few months, and a recent report by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) found that many issues were due to "avoidable planning and system failures."
Before Hurricane Sandy, a storm known as a derecho swept through parts of Northern Virginia, leaving 1.5 million Verizon customers unable to call 911 emergency centers, according to The New York Times. Two days prior, Verizon had tested its backup generator and it failed – the problem was not addressed.
The FCC said that it plans to use the results of the derecho report to improve the reliability of current 911 systems and to accelerate the development of a next-generation 911 system that is on the drawing board.
"These failures are unacceptable, and the FCC will do whatever is necessary to ensure the reliability of 911,"Julius Genachowski, the FCC chairman, said in a statement released with the report. "We can't prevent disasters from happening, but we can work relentlessly to make sure Americans can connect with emergency responders when they need to most."
The report added that 17 call centers for 911 in three states lost service completely, which affected the ability of more than two million people to reach emergency help. According to the FCC, many of the failures were due to "service provider network problems."
Businesses that have customers relying heavily on them during emergencies need to not only ensure that their systems are reliable, but that they are extensive. By enlisting phone, email and text messaging services through an award-winning answering service, companies are proving to consumers that they value their well-being through two-way communication.