ARMSTRONG COUNTY, Pa. (WPMG) – WPMG-TV and WPMG-FM is learning more about what caused the Armstrong County 911 center to go offline, and not being able to answer any emergency calls.
The event happened on Thursday just before noon when the 911 center was alerted that people were unable to dial 911.
When the supervisors identified that there as indeed a mass-outage, an emergency alert notification was sent out via the ICORRS system to various fire departments within the county to “man their stations for any direct phone calls”.
Firefighters were then told to relay any and all emergency calls to 911 via a special fire talkgroup on the ICORRS system, which played a critical role in keeping a clear line of communications between the emergency operations center and the local stations.
Windstream, the backhaul provider for the telecommunications system at Armstrong County 911, had reportedly serviced maintenance via the telecommunications devices remotely, but a mistake was made within the switching box and network. Due to internet propagation, this took roughly two hours to resolve.
A public relations representative at Windstream would not identify themselves for the record, but they were able to explain to WPMG-TV exactly what happened.
The system came back online around 2:00 p.m. on Thursday.
WPMG-TV and WPMG-FM attempted to contact the emergency center shortly after the outage was reported via the non-emergency line, and both WPMG-TV’s in-house phone server and AT&T cellular devices were unable to raise the 911 center.
Within the past few years, the Butler County 911 center had gone offline numerous times due to CenturyLink having a similar issue.