A CenturyLink outage crippled 911 phone systems across the country on Thursday and Friday. Emergency alerts went out late Thursday night, and 911 service was restored by Friday evening.
There are still plenty of questions about what went wrong and Washington state intends to get answers and impose consequences, if necessary. It was a busy night in part of the state's Emergency Operation Center, where workers tracked the problems with individual counties.
State 911 coordinator Adam Wasserman said they monitored the situation closely. "It's always a significant concern when a county is not receiving 911 calls, especially when we receive so many counties not receiving calls.”
They estimate about three-quarters of the 911 systems around the state were having problems. State Emergency Managers turned to CenturyLink for answers.
"We got in touch with all of the counties and CenturyLink and any other vendors just to monitor the situation and make sure they know what's going on and let the counties know what the companies are doing to try and resolve the issues."
Although the state did issue emergency alerts, they remained at a level three activation, which means monitoring the situation. Now the investigation will shift into how this happened, a joint federal and state investigation.
“We will be working with CenturyLink to find out and hear what the cause was and where the cause was,” Wasserman said. “Whether it was in the network or some other part of the phone system.”
CenturyLink has not released details on the cause but said all consumer services should be working, although there could be some lingering delays.
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission has launched an investigation. They previously fined Century Link $2.8 million for another outage that occurred in April of 2014.