Calls to 9-1-1 Emergency Centers are finally getting through on Thursday evening after an outage that lasted nearly 24 hours in some parts of the Midstate.
In all, abc27 News counted 14 counties mentioned by either the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency or the impacted phone company as being at least partly affected by the outage.
Franklin County was among the first to alert the public on Wednesday that something was wrong.
“A fire chief tried to call in on an administrative line to put an apparatus back in service, and he couldn’t get through, so he got a hold of our communications coordinator through email and advised him that something was wrong with the phone lines,” expalins Jake Crider, director of emergency services for Franklin County.
So through the media, they released 10-digit phone numbers for the public to get help a half-century after Americans first learned to dial 9-1-1.
Then, ” Verizon was able to do some patching around. basically we were able to set up a cell phone in the dispatch center, which was able to receive 9-1-1 calls,” Crider said.
They also used technology nobody would have imagined fifty years ago.
“People could still text 9-1-1. That’s a feature I don’t believe a lot of folks know, that you can text 9-1-1,” Crider said.
The emergency services director also said at least 20 people in Franklin County did utilize the text option during the outage.
As for what caused the outage, abc27 News heard reports of a fiber line cut in Maryland…or near Philadelphia. So which was it?
The answer? Both. Two coincidental, accidental cuts to fiber lines.
According to Lumen, the phone company known as CenturyLink until recently.
In the video above, a map of Lumen’s fiber lines shows the interconnectivity across the state, and more specifically throughout the Midstate. One of the cut fiber lines was on a railroad bridge near Philly. The other, in the Maryland town of North East located between Baltimore and Philly along the top of the Chesapeake Bay.