911 services were down for more than five hours Thursday morning in Washington and Oregon. Services have since been restored, but there are still plenty of questions about why it went down and whether it could happen again.
CenturyLink has not said much about the shutdown and what caused it, except issuing a statement that "we are still investigating the root cause."
Thursday afternoon, the state Utilities and Transportation Commission announced it is opening an investigation into the outage.
A lot of people are wondering what happened and whether the backup procedures are good enough.
The state Emergency Management Division’s alert center got the first failure notification from Lewis County at 1 a.m. Other counties started calling in, so they used the National Warning System.
Emergency Management says it contracts with CenturyLink to provide the backbone network for all 911 services, regardless of who your individual phone carrier is – that includes cell service, landlines and VOIP.
CenturyLink says the Oregon and Washington outages were unrelated and that Oregon’s was caused by a maintenance or equipment issue. The cause for Washington’s shutdown is still unclear, but multiple agencies seem to agree that the public needs to be made aware of backup phone numbers for police and fire in case this happens again.