FL: Sprint outage silences Collier's 911 + 217,000 customers

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Sprint outage silences Collier's 911

Collier's 911 system down more than 15 hours By CINDY LONG, The News-Press

A Sprint phone outage that disrupted service to more than 217,000 customers in Southwest Florida also silenced 911 dispatch systems.

Collier County’s 911 dispatch system was the hardest hit by the outage. Full service still wasn’t restored until 15 hours after the outage hit.

Only four of 10 phone lines were working properly in the emergency call center at 2 p.m., said Sgt. Jeff Maturo, spokesman for the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. The 911 system was back to normal operation by 5 p.m.

Sprint phone service was interrupted at 2:10 a.m. because of a power failure at the Fort Myers toll switch. That knocked out service from Avon Park to Naples, according to information provided by Sprint.

Phone service was not restored to all customers until shortly before 5 p.m.

Lee County’s 911 center also was affected. No calls went in or out of the center from 2 to 4:30 a.m., said Deputy Larry King, spokesman for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Naples Police Department’s 911 phone lines had the shortest interruption, with only a one-hour break between 2:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m., said Lt. Jon Maines, spokesman for the Naples Police Department.

On Thursday, Collier County sheriff’s officials increased patrols in trouble areas and added additional deputies to substations, Maturo said.

“Patrol deputies are looking specifically for people trying to flag them down,” Maturo said Thursday afternoon.

While the phone system did not work, two-way radios were not affected and emergency workers were able to communicate with each other throughout the day.

The cause of the power failure will be under investigation for the next day or two, said Steve Personette, Sprint’s public affairs manager for Lee County.

“It’s been some years since a major power outage like this,” Personette said. “It’s not something that happens every day.”

— Contact Cindy Long at clong@news-press.com or 992-1345.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), February 09, 2001

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