Radio system used by police, fire crashed with overload from CMS

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There was a safety concern among Charlotte's first responders when an unexpected issue came up just as the school year started.

The wireless radios stalled out when the Charlotte Mecklenburg communications system came at or near capacity.

Everyone from first responders to utilities workers and parks and recreation employees use the same system to communicate.

They're all on the same network – some 17,000 users. Captain Rob Brisley with the Charlotte Fire Department some of those users got a busy signal in the afternoon as CMS was letting school out.

The problem was traced back to too many buses coming on to the system at once.

We're still trying to figure out from CMS why it would happen this year and not in years past. The bell schedule changed this year, but dismissal times are still staggered.

One industry insider told WBTV this kind of communication failure is extremely rare especially for a system like Charlotte-Mecklenburg's which is very well maintained.

Copyright 2011 WBTV.