Century Link’s Outage | Impacting 911 Centers Nationwide

UPDATED – 12/28/2018 @ 00:30 PST or 12:30 AM

Nationwide | This is not the first time a CenturyLink outage has disrupted 911 Centers across the United States and Thursday’s event appears to have been the worst one yet.

Major Outage Prompts Large Fines

In 2014, a third-party vendor Intrado now known as West Safety Services experienced a major outage affecting 911 centers in Washington State and Minnesota leading to a $17.4 Million fine to Century Link.  This outage affected 6,600 911 calls in seven states – and those are the ones that were known.

Second Outage Bigger than First

On August 1, 2018, a second outage affected 911 centers starting in Minnesota and later impacting those in North Carolina and North Dakota.  Others alerted that they too in Ohio and Louisiana could not take 911 calls in their states. Several media stories were published on August 2nd and later, wrote about this interruption.  They stated that many Agencies were investigating along with Century Link whom a certain amount to provide a response to what occurred.

The outage lasted for about one hour.

The cause was said to be a human error at third-party provider, West Safety Services, a Nebraska  company that is contractor to CenturyLink.

West Safety Services stated to halt all work in the month of August, as they looked into changing its procedures to make sure this type of error never happens again.

The FCC was in the process of investigating this latest incident, as well other agencies.  No word as to what the outcome of that investigation was said to be.  This would not be the last outage for CenturyLink.

And, then there is today December 27th with another outage…..

Third Outage Grows Bigger than Last

A little over four months later in the same year of 2018, on Thursday, December 27 to be exact has now been considered the biggest and more extensive outage than the previous ones put together.  It is now said to be impacting Washington State, Texas, Montana, North Carolina, Idaho and others.

Not only are 911 centers impacted but some have reported issues with ATM machines in Idaho and Montana.  A reported temporary phone shutdown at Idaho’s Department of Corrections and the State’s Department of Education occurred.   One medical facility in Colorado reported unable to retrieve online medical records having to resort to old school methods of pencil and paper in documenting patient information.

Current Outage Status

According to CenturyLink’s website, the outage is due to service disruption to the external cloud network.  The problem started on Thursday, December 27th around 0918 hours or just a little after 9 am this morning. We say this is the worst outage because we are talking that it will be almost twenty-four hours seriously impacting many agencies, businesses, organizations and most important, Public Safety.

Their last update states at 8:40 pm or 2040 PST, the following:

“CenturyLink engineers and technicians have identified a network element that was impacting customer services and are addressing the issue in order to fully restore services. We estimate that services will be fully restored within four hours. We apologize for any inconvenience this caused our customers.”

This would bring services back online around 12:40 PST am on Friday, December 28th or commonly known as 00:40 hours.

Washington State Emergency Phone Numbers (when 911 is not working)

Chelan – Douglas Counties (Dispatch). 509-663-9911

Clallam County (Dispatch).  360-417-2259

Clark County 911.  This is for those in Clark County, Vancouver.  360-693-3111 or can text 911 or 311.

Coast Guard Sector – Puget Sound.  206-217-6001.

Enumclaw PD Dispatch.  360-825-3505.

Sammamish / Issaquah PD Dispatch.  425-888-3333.

Jefferson County Dispatch.  360-385-3831

King County Sheriff’s Office.  206-296-3311.  This is for those who are in the areas of the King County International Airport, KC Transit, Sound Transit,  Beaux Arts Village, Burien, Carnation, Kenmore, Maple Valley,  Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Seatac, Newcastle, Sammamish, Shoreline, Skykomish and Woodinville.

Kitsap County Sheriff Dispatch.  360-308-5400.

Kittitas County Dispatch.  509-925-8534.

Mason County Dispatch.  360-426-4441.

Pierce Co 911.  253-798-4721.

Pierce Co Fire & EMS.  253-588-5217.

Puyallup Police.  253-798-4722.

Redmond Police Dispatch.  253-798-4722.

Renton Fire.  425-430-7000 staffing line. ** Currently, reporting as not impacted by outage. **

Seattle 911 Center (Police).  206-583-2111 or 206-625-5011. Text 911.

Seattle Fire.  206-583-2111.

SNOCOM. 425-407-3911. Snohomish County.

WSP.  Snohomish, Skagit, Island Counties.  360-654-1204.  Whatcom County.  360-676-6911.   Yakima County.  509-457-0207.  Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla.  509-628-0333.

Social Media

We will be digging deeper into this story and update as more information is received.  Please check our Twitter page @nwfireblog for phone numbers.  You can also check on twitter’s incident hashtags #911Outage and #911Outage2018 for non-emergency phone  numbers for emergencies.

Emergency is defined as a FIRE/EMS event which is LIFE-THREATENING/PROPERTY THREATENED (i.e. heart pain, gunshot, short of breath, allergic reactions, fire, etc.) or for POLICE event that is LIFE/PROPERTY SAFETY issue (i.e. crime in progress, shooting, stolen vehicle, personal safety, etc.).

Thank you for reading our post. We appreciate you being here with us and remember to check out the Dispatch and Communications Center phone numbers to call for emergencies.

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