An outage affecting 911 telephone services in seven Waldo County towns Thursday morning has been resolved.
For about an hour and a half Thursday morning, people in the towns of Belmont, Brooks, Liberty, Morrill, Palermo, Searsmont and Stockton Springs were unable to use 911. Service was restored around 10:30 a.m. and an emergency cell phone alert went out around 11 a.m. notifying people in the area that the outage was resolved.
While 911 was down, county officials offered alternate numbers ― which were shared through an initial emergency alert Thursday morning ― for people to call in case of an emergency.
“We wanted a capability for people in those towns, if they call 911 and they can’t get through, an alternate number they can try. With the temperatures the way they are, we’re worried about people having a heart attack [while] shoveling, or fires from wood stoves that don’t get used much and if they tried 911 they wouldn’t get through,” Waldo County Emergency Management Agency Director Dale Rowley said.
Consolidated Communications is responsible for maintaining the 911 telephone system in Waldo County. County officials were notified around 9 a.m. this morning that an outage was affecting the network. The outage appears to have been caused by a power issue within the Consolidated Communications system in Fryeburg, which then triggered a computer glitch that took the local site in Liberty offline, Rowley said.
The county has experienced 911 outages before, but typically they affected a smaller area. Rowley did not know how many emergency calls the county’s dispatch center had received through the alternate numbers Thursday morning.
“It’s a small county so we can go hours without any calls and the next thing you know we’re paging out every ambulance service in the county,” Rowley said.