911 emergency dispatch system fails for San Francisco fire, police 

A technology failure caused the computer system for San Francisco fire and police dispatch to shut down, forcing emergency personnel to resort to pen and paper.

According to San Francisco Police Sgt. Michael Andraychak, the system in which information from a 911 call is entered and transmitted to officers or firemen in the field, failed around 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

“They switched immediately to cards and pen,” Andraychak said. “They would write down any information and hand it off to another dispatcher who would then transmit the information by radio to field officers.”

A backup system was restored by 1 p.m., Andraychak said. There is no estimated time the entire system will be restored.

Though the computers failed, there was no interruption of 911 services, according to Office of Emergency Services spokeswoman Laura Adelman said.

The cause of the failure is not yet known, according to Adelman, but information technology personnel is working on completely restoring the computer system as soon as possible.


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