Uncategorized / February 4, 2015

College experiences 911 outage

A phone located in campus housing, which had an outage of 911 services on Jan. 22. (LucyRae Dorn/TKS)

A phone located in campus housing, which had an outage of 911 services on Jan. 22. (LucyRae Dorn/TKS)

On Thursday, Jan. 22 at 3:31 p.m, a campus wide email was sent from Campus Safety Director John Schlaf saying that 911 services were not available on campus telephones.

According to Schlaf’s email, 911 services were unavailable as of 3:15 p.m. Campus was alerted that the 911 services were restored by a follow-up email from Schlaf at 5:07 p.m.

“It was a little frightening,” freshman Marissa Arrez said.

Counseling Services were the ones to detect the problem. Dan Larson, Director of Counseling Services, said they attempted to call 911 for a simple transfer, but were unable to connect.

A simple transfer is a request for an ambulance to transfer someone to the emergency room. Larson clarified it was a non-life threatening situation.

“We just used our cell phones,” said Larson, “There are other back up plans in place. We could call campus safety for their radios as well.”

Counseling Services then contacted Information Technology Services to alert them of the problem. Vice President and Chief Information Officer Steve Hall said ITS contacted contractors to restore the service to campus.

ITS also contacted Schlaf, so he could alert the campus that the system was down.

“We called the contractors to come fix the problem and they were on site working to fix it by the time the email was sent out to campus,” Hall said.

Hall said when 911 services have been lost it means one of two things. Either the phone transferring the phone to the public safety building is not working or the component which tells where the call is coming from is unable to do so.

The calls to 911 in this instance were unable to connect. As the email stated, anyone on campus would still be able to contact 911 with their cell phone or any off campus phone.

The contractors discovered that a piece of equipment needed to be replaced. The repair was made and the service was restored

“It’s a big deal,” said Larson, “I’m glad they got it fixed.”

Some students expressed concern for their safety as a result of the email.

“It was surprising since we’re on a college campus. Their main priority should be to keep us safe. It’s good we could use our cell phones, but still scary,” freshman Yamila Tueros said.

Serafine George

Tags:  911 911 outage Emergency Services

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