UPDATE: Lincoln 911 Call Center Problem Now Fixed

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Lincoln, Neb. Officials say the a Windstream outage that affected Lincoln's 911 call center has been fixed.

Lincoln Emergency Communication Officials say just before 9:30 a.m., Tuesday the emergency call center began taking reports that some people were getting a busy signal when dialing 911.

When placing a phone call, many citizens received a recording stating that “all circuits are busy” or the calls were dropped.

Officer Katie Flood said the outage affected both land line and cellular phone calls.

According to Windstream, several calls were affected, including 911 calls, local and long distance calls. They say the data stream was disrupted, which caused calls to be dropped.

Windstream has routed around the device causing the outage while engineers repair it.

Lincoln Public Safety Director Tom Casady says when this happens, the first thing his team does is let the public know to seek help by coming to fire or police stations if they have an emergency, then if the problem lingers, a team of amateur radio operators are sent out across the city to act as mini-help centers.

"When you have something like a massive power outage or land-line telephone outage, they can affect virtually all of our communications pathways I don't think people realize how much we still do depend on land-line telecommunication networks," said Casady.

Windstream told 10/11 News the hour and a half outage isn't something they want to happen, but they do have a plan. They have two data centers that calls go through so if one goes down like in this case they have a backup.

"As a society, we have become very independent on technology that we get into a little bit of a panic when the technology doesn't work," said Casady.

Casady says these type of situations are handled better now than in the past because of cell phones. Casady points out about 80 percent of the public has cell phones and social media can help in emergencies, like this one, which helped get the word out.

"Social media provides other avenues for communication which is a good thing, but we also need to keep in mind it's dependent on networks," said Casady.

LFR was tweeting out information to inform people what to be aware of during this outage. LFR Battalion Chief Tim Linke was alerted to the problem Tuesday morning and prepared for this unique situation.

"Not a very frequent occurrence for us but we've had to do it in the past and for the most part it's worked pretty well by having our folks ready to respond to have our fire stations to get that information and utilizing our radio system to contact the local assets," said Linke.

Luckily Casady says none of the calls received during that time were anything major and this outage happened during a slow time of day when those 911 calls typically come in.


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