The Herald Bulletin

January 21, 2013

Emergency 911 telephone service disrupted

Backup system failed, officials told

By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Madison County’s emergency 911 telephone system crashed for about three hours Monday because of a problem at AT&T Inc. facilities in Indianapolis, local officials said.

Dispatchers with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and Anderson Police Department became aware of the problem shortly after 1 p.m.

Problems apparently developed following a power outage at the company’s headquarters, said APD spokesman Detective Joel Sandefur. In that situation, emergency calls are supposed to be switched over to a backup system, but that apparently didn’t happen.

When the backup system failed, AT&T began routing calls through Delaware County.

Two Madison County dispatchers were sent to Muncie to handle local calls and transmit that information back to Madison County, said Sheriff Ron Richardson.

In addition, county fire departments were manned as well.

Richardson said it was an example of contingency plans working as they’re supposed to work when an extended outage occurs.

Information Technology Services department Director Jerry Branson said he was notified of the problem and “offered resources on a standby basis if they needed us.”

Sandefur said handling Madison’s emergency calls through Delaware County created some lag time it responding to emergency calls, but the delay wasn’t serious.

AT&T engineers were able to fix the problem and have the county’s system back up by approximately 4:30 p.m.

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