ST. PAUL, Minn. – An equipment failure is being blamed for a seven hour 911 outage in eight southern Minnesota counties Monday.
The Department of Public Safety says between 12:56 and 8:08 pm, callers in Dodge, Freeborn, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha and Winona counties could speak to and hear 911 dispatchers but the dispatchers could not hear them.
Lumen Technologies, formerly CenturyLink, is Minnesota’s 911 service provider and says a bad card that supports large national fiber in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was to blame for the issue and not a fiber line cut as they previously indicated. Engineers rebooted the equipment, which resolved the issue and fully restored service.
During the outage, 911 dispatch centers used caller information from their display screens to contact each caller using their administrative lines. They also encouraged people who needed help to use their 10-digit, 24-hour, non-emergency numbers until service was restored. Text-to-911 service was also operational at that time.
“911 is still a number Minnesotans can trust and should always be the first thing you try, but there are alternatives you can use in an emergency during a disruption,” says DPS-ECN Director Dana Wahlberg. “We encourage people to save the non-emergency numbers for PSAPs located in the counties where they live, work and frequently visit.”