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Hurricane Beryl ‘suspected’ cause for 911 outage

todayJuly 10, 2024 3

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A powerful storm that hit Texas could be to blame for 911 outages in South Dakota and parts of Nebraska.

Service provider Lumen Technologies says the problems started Tuesday and were fixed this early Wednesday morning.

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While the cause is under investigation, it’s suspected Hurricane Beryl impacted the network. Metro Communications, which serves the Sioux Falls area, lost 911 service twice Tuesday night.

“Along with other cities across the state we were without 911 services for approximately six hours,” Metro Communications Director Michael Gramlick said.

An alert went out to cell phone users in the Sioux Falls area Tuesday night about the problem.

People were told to call Metro Communications’ non-emergency line or text 911 for help. The dispatch center received more than 500 calls for service.

“To our knowledge throughout the outage, we were able to identify each call and follow up with them as we would regularly,” Gramlick said.

The Watertown Regional 911 Center was also impacted by the outage.

“We dispatch to six counties up here in northeastern South Dakota, so we do immediate notification of our all our sheriff’s emergency management directors, let them know 911 is down. And then we use social media and local media to help get the word out,” Watertown 911 Communications Manager Troy VanDusen said.

If outages sound familiar, that’s because South Dakota was one of the state’s affected by a 911 disruption in April.

In that case, Lumen said a third-party light pole installation was to blame.

“Thank goodness it doesn’t happen a lot. This year it’s happened a couple times and of course that’s unfortunate. It’s very rare that we see 911 outages in South Dakota, but it has happened,” VanDusen said.

Still, it’s something public safety officials have to prepare for.

“We don’t want to believe that this is a regular occurrence, but our job is to plan for those occurrences,” Gramlick said.

Lumen says the outage affected part of Nebraska too.

Here’s the full statement Lumen sent KELOLAND News.

“Our techs worked hard to fix an intermittent disruption affecting some customers’ ability to reach 911 in South Dakota and parts of Nebraska. The intermittent outage began on July 9 and was resolved early in the morning of July 10. Investigations are ongoing as to cause but it is suspected it was related to network impacts resulting from Hurricane Beryl. We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding.”

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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