NM - 911 service restored to towns

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By VERONICA GONZALEZ/The New Mexican10/24/2000

Crews restored full emergency 911 telephone service Monday night to several New Mexico communities, including Taos.

Although several communities had reported that their 911 systems were operating OK on Monday, repair crews had been working to fix a ruptured pipe that was causing sporadic outages in the system.

Qwest Communications International spokesman Mark Genrich said seven communities had experienced "intermittent" problems with 911 calls after about 5 a.m. Monday when water leaked into a hollow pipe in a phone tower on Sandia Crest, east of Albuquerque.

Genrich said EspaC1ola and Taos were among those seven communities.

But EspaC1ola dispatchers Monday said their 911 system was working without a glitch.

Taos reported only part of its 911 system was down, allowing its 911 calls to continue coming in. Enhanced 911 - which operates much like Caller ID except it provides addresses - was the part of the system that wasn't working.

Jerry Simpson, Taos Central Communications superintendent, said the dispatch center couldn't obtain callers' address information because of the cracked pipe.

But, Simpson said, dispatchers always write down a callers' location. The enhanced 911 helps when someone can't speak to indicate where they are.

"It's an important link, but it's not the crucial link," Simpson said. "We're still able to function as a 911 center without it, but we prefer to have it."

Genrich said Monday evening that 911 calls in the affected communities had been rerouted and the system was functioning properly, but he could not say where the calls were being sent.

Other communities with occasional 911 problems were Clovis, Portales, Arch, Springer and Raton, Genrich said.


-- Doris (reaper@pacifier.com), October 24, 2000

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