Kansas City Fire Department's 911 system goes down - KCTV5 News

Kansas City Fire Department's 911 system goes down

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The Kansas City Fire Department had to answer emergency calls the old-fashioned way Tuesday when the department's 911 system went down.

A partial power outage knocked the computers off line starting just after 7 a.m.

"Because it was a partial power outage, the emergency generators did not kick on," Interim Fire Chief Paul Berardi said.

A downed line created the issue. Power was quickly restored, but it affected computer services for eight hours.

"We lost all of our phone calls, our 911 calls," Berardi said.

Kansas City Police Department dispatchers took over 911 calls initially.

"We realized that we needed to send our call takers down there to the police department so they got down there rapidly and did that call-taking function at the police headquarters," Berardi said.

And they were special call takers dispatched to police headquarters during the crisis. They were the most experienced ones, some of whom were around before computers.

"We sent our most experienced call takers down there to be able to do that because they did not have the benefit of computers to prompt them in their questioning and things like that," the chief said.

The fire department dusted off hand-held radios to communicate with fire trucks and EMS crews.

Despite the problems behind the scenes, residents never knew about the issues, Berardi said.

"There was no delay whatsoever," he said. "All the calls that came into 911 were dispatched in a timely manner."

The department typically has generators that help out in full power losses.

The partial outage affected other nearby building. Everything was restored by Tuesday afternoon.

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