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Emergency officials still don’t know why 911 failed

 

TUCSON – Communications officials still do not know why the 911 system failed across Pima County on Tuesday morning.

Around 3 a.m. Tucson’s 911 system went down for about 90 minutes. Other departments had similar outages.

Chris Conger is the Tucson Public Safety Communications Department Deputy Director. He said he has been working with CenturyLink so the issue does not happen again.

“Unfortunately their system engineers are still researching what the cause of the problem was,” Conger said, “and until we understand that cause, we’re not going to have solutions ready.”

A CenturyLink representative declined to answer questions about the outage. On Wednesday, the representative only stated, “The cause is under investigation.”

The City of Tucson pays CenturyLink about $100,000 per month for 911 services, according to Conger.

Emergency officials quickly set up a 10-digit phone number and alerted people through social media and news outlets. They were close to issuing a notification similar to an Amber Alert.

The city missed about 10 calls. The department called those people back. If they did not answer, a police officer was dispatched to check on them.

“We’ll be ready for anything,” Conger said. “It doesn’t matter what the problem. Our staff here is highly competent, highly dedicated. We have several backup plans for the worst failures.”

Emergency officials encourage people to sign up for emergency alerts through a company called Everbridge.

Sam Salzwedel

Sam Salzwedel is an investigative reporter at News 4 Tucson – KVOA.

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