WA: Glitch stalls 9-1-1 service

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Glitch stalls 9-1-1 service


It was a "scary few minutes." -- Jim Quackenbush - County 9-1-1 director

OLYMPIA -- Telephones at Thurston County's 9-1-1 center were knocked out of service for about 10 minutes Sunday afternoon until a backup phone system could be activated.

It was a "scary few minutes," said Jim Quackenbush, county 9-1-1 director.

Officials are not sure if they missed any emergency calls, he said.

The problem began about 4:50 p.m., when the seven phones at the center that receive 9-1-1 calls locked up.

While officials worked to activate the backup system, employees called the area's fire districts and police departments to have the stations staffed in case residents unable to call 9-1-1 contacted those stations directly, Quackenbush said.

The backup system was activated about 10 minutes after the problem began. The main phone system was back in service about 6 p.m. Sunday.

The 9-1-1 system is operated by computer, and the cause of the breakdown was being investigated.

For an hour and 21 minutes on a morning in July 1999, people who dialed 9-1-1 in the county got busy signals instead of people.

The 1999 incident was caused by U S West, now 1/2 est.

And in July 1998, another U S West error knocked out 9-1-1 service for about 21/2 hours one morning.

No major problems were reported in either incident


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), October 23, 2000

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