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CenturyLink has confirmed that a mistake made by an employee of a third party vendor triggered an outage that disrupted 911 service in Minnesota on August 1. CenturyLink says that West Safety Services was performing maintenance on its network when the outage happened. Minnesota, along with North Carolina and North Dakota were affected. CenturyLink says 693 calls to Minnesota 911 dispatch centers failed to be routed during the outage. Read the timeline of events during the 65 minute outage and what service providers are doing to prevent another outage in the future. 911 remains a trusted service. In an emergency, reporting parties should continue to dial 911. Alternative numbers should only be used in the event of an outage.
Text-to-911 is a bit precocious. It’s only eight months old, and it has already won an award.
Emergency Communication Networks (ECN) received a Minnesota State Government Innovation Award (SGIA) for it at a recent ceremony. Judges from the Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs reviewed 62 applicants and ECN’s Text-to-911 campaign was among the top 10 programs to receive recognition. Learn more about this prestigious award and the hard work that prompted it in this recent DPS blog.
If you’ve ever tried to use your cell phone in an emergency or during a large event, you know service can be spotty or non-existent. Now imagine being a first responder and having to send and receive information over those same networks.
Video Description: After three years of diligent work with various stakeholders, the Department of Public Safety’s Emergency Communication Networks division announces the statewide availability of Text-to-911.