Officials are Investigating the Cause of Widespread 911 Service Outages
An internal maintenance issue caused emergency call centers to shut down across three states.
ST. LOUIS, Minn.- A 9-1-1 call system outage that affected St. Louis county also affected several other cities in the state and as far as North Dakota and North Carolina.
Minnesota Emergency Communications announced Thursday afternoon that the outage had nothing to do with terrorism or a cyber attack but was an unusual occurrence.
Officials believe the shutdown happened during maintenance work by a third-party vendor hired by CenturyLink, the state’s 9-1-1 service provider of 7 years.
This isn’t the first 9-1-1 issue with CenturyLink, however. The Federal Communications Commission fined the company $16 million for a six-hour outage in 2014 that affected 10 million people in Minnesota, Washington and North Carolina.
CenturyLink’s contract with the state requires a full report on this newest incident within 14 days.
Assistant supervisor of the St. Louis county public safety call center Jason Matthias told Fox 21 that he doesn’t know how many calls were missed during the outage, but he doesn’t believe there was a large impact on emergency response in the area.
“We have a number of contingency plans in place. We’re always looking at curtailing those plans based on what is occurring and we are always looking at how we can best notify the public in a timely manner.”
Matthias said that the quickest way to learn about ongoing emergencies like this one is through state social media or though signing up to receive mobile notifications at www.northlandalert.com