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It’s up now but what made the 911 system fail?

Century Link says “under investigation”
Posted at 7:42 PM, Jul 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-10 22:42:08-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - It's still not clear what knocked out the regional 911 system early Tuesday. The system is back up now.

When you want help in a hurry it's almost a reflex to call 9-1-1.

Wednesday was a normal day at Tucson’s 911 Center for people who are trained to calmly help you through a crisis---but they just went through a crisis of their own.

Tuesday morning the regional 911 system went dead.

Luckily when the system went down, it went down at that's usually the quietest time of the day, about three in the morning and it came back up at not quite 4:30. It would have been much worse if it happened at the busiest time of day which usually begins about 4 PM."

After the system came back, Century Link was able to help the city reach people who called during the down-time.

Chris Conger is Deputy Director for Tucson Public Safety Communications. He says, “The best information we have city of Tucson missed about 10 calls to 911. We have those phone numbers now. As soon as we received that list, we re-contacted those phone numbers to make sure there was no pending emergencies, and no further need for help."

The outages affected areas outside Tucson, including unincorporated Pima County and areas protected by Northwest Fire District.

While the system was down, the city used social media to let people know about an alternate emergency number, and asked news outlets like KGUN9 to help spread the news. Officials hope more people will sign up for the Everbridge phone application. It allows public safety officials to send emergency alerts about issues like 911 problems.

Century Link has not commented on the case other than to say it's under investigation.

Century Link does have a history of 911 outages elsewhere in the country. Outages in December prompted the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission to announce an investigation.

In 2015 Century Link paid the FCC 16 Million dollars as part of a consent decree triggered by earlier 911 failures.