How North Carolina Kept 911 Up During Hurricane Florence

Augustin Dieudomme looks out at the flooded entrance to his apartment complex near the Cape Fear River as it continued to rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on Sept. 18.

Augustin Dieudomme looks out at the flooded entrance to his apartment complex near the Cape Fear River as it continued to rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on Sept. 18. David Goldman / AP Photo

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

The Federal Communications Commission has since documented the effort’s success.

As Hurricane Florence slowly moved over North Carolina, dropping inches upon inches of rain and inundating communities, residents made an average of 25,000 911 calls a day for nine days.

But State Chief Information Officer Eric Boyette, who chairs the state 911 board responsible for all 911 communications in North Carolina, said they were able to meet the demand.

The key was ensuring 911 public safety answering points, or PSAPs, had backups and that call routing could be changed. Boyette had teams calling the PSAPs to determine needs.

During the storm, the board was embedded with emergency management staff, monitoring as 911 operators received 225,923 calls between Sept. 12 and 20.

“We worked with the counties that were in distress,” Boyette told Route Fifty.

The effort was so successful, the Federal Communications Commission flew staff down to take notes, Boyette said.

Watch Route Fifty’s full interview with Boyette, at the National Association of State CIOs 2018 annual conference in San Diego, below.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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