911 Outage In Spokane County - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

UPDATE: 911 Outage In Spokane County

WEDNESDAY UPDATE FROM SPOKANE COUNTY:

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. – Spokane County's 9-1-1 and Crime Check operations Wednesday continue to be operated out of the back-up center for emergency communications. CenturyLink officials this evening still are trying to determine the cause of Monday's night's disruption in 9-1-1 service and complete repairs, according to Lorlee Mizell, 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Director.

On Monday, November 26, 2012, Spokane County and City of Spokane emergency officials reported that 9-1-1 service experienced a disruption that lasted for approximately 40 minutes.  On Tuesday, the wrong part was shipped and today another part was found to be ineffective in resolving the problem, Mizell said.  More experienced technical staff from CenturyLink are now assisting with the troubleshooting and repair work.

The public should be assured that both 9-1-1 and Crime Check services are fully staffed and operational.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane County 911 operators continued to work out of the backup call center Tuesday, after an outage that occurred around 6:40 p.m. Monday.

"Our telephone system was completely out of service, so we wouldn't have received a call on any of our lines: crime check, our non-emergency lines or 911," said 911 Emergency Communications Director Lorlee Mizell.

This is the third time since July that an Eastern Washington County has been without 911 emergency services. Stevens County had two outages a few months ago.

The cause of the outage in Spokane County is still under investigation and was expected to be fixed Tuesday. However, the wrong part was ordered, so dispatchers will not be working out of the main call center until at least Wednesday. The backup center is fully staffed and operational.

The phone lines were down for nearly forty-minutes during the outage. At this point, they do not know how many calls were missed during that time. However, on average they receive about 700 calls a day, which is about 30 calls per hour.

Over the summer, Stevens County also experienced two major outages, one of which lasted for an entire day.

In both cases there, the lines had been cut and dug up from the ground. Once by a construction crew and another by a local farmer digging on his land.

"It is one of our worst nightmares and we cannot emphasize enough that people need to check before they dig," said Stevens County 911 Coordinator Debby McCenna.

During the outages in Stevens County, calls to 911 were transferred to the emergency dispatch in Spokane County.

However, Spokane County is unable to transfer their calls anywhere. 

"We're simply too big," Mizell said. "We receive too many calls and the call centers around us are too small."

If there is an outage, the city recommends going to the nearest fire or police station for help.

Currently, the emergency centers in both Spokane and Stevens County are working to change the phone systems, so that sometime next year, people could send a text message or photo to 911 in addition to calling in for help.

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