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Scott County, CenturyLink still searching for cause of 911 outage

April 18th, 2014 10:04 pm by Wes Bunch

Scott County, CenturyLink still searching for cause of 911 outage

GATE CITY — Scott County emergency communications officials and representatives from CenturyLink Communications have been in contact multiple times this week in an effort to pinpoint the cause of a recent 911 service outage.

The exact cause of the problem, which resulted in 911 lines for both Scott and Washington counties going down during the early morning hours of April 11, is still under investigation by CenturyLink engineers, a spokeswoman with the company confirmed this week.

Scott County E-911 Director Janice "Tutti" Jennings said CenturyLink management first made contact with her office Monday to begin discussing the issue. Jennings said she has been in contact with the company on a daily basis since then.

"As of right now we still do not know what caused it, or what steps were taken to resolve the issue and fix it," Jennings said. "We've talked to CenturyLink each day, sometimes twice a day, so they are working on it."

Jennings said the Virginia Information Technology Agency is also working with both Scott and Washington counties on the issue in the hopes of finding the cause of this outage and mitigating future ones.

"I have turned all of the information I have over to the Virginia Information Technology Agency and they are starting a file on it," Jennings said. "We'll meet with them next week in Washington County and see what we can find out about it."

Scott County officials first noticed the 911 outage shortly before 2 a.m., April 11. The issue also affected the automatic rerouting of emergency calls to Washington County, Va. E-911. Washington County's 911 line was also out of service during the same time.

CenturyLink engineers were also reportedly unable to reroute 911 calls through Scott County dispatch's administration lines, which were working throughout the incident.

The outage reportedly lasted about 30 minutes before the service to the 911 line was restored.

Officials said they believed the problem originated with CenturyLink. No additional drops in service have occurred.

As a result of the outage, Scott County Telephone Cooperative installed two backup phone lines to the E-911 administrative offices.

The service outage is the second to impact Scott County's E-911 service since December 2013.

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