Thirteen Pennsylvania counties in the central and western parts of the state experienced a power outage on Thursday, affecting 911 centers across the region. A cut fiber optic line in Maryland caused the issue, reported The Sentinel.
The counties that experienced 911 outages include Adams, Beaver, Bedford, Butler, Clarion, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, and Somerset. The Sentinel reported that many municipalities affected are posting alternate emergency phone numbers on social media accounts. Although crews are working to restore power, officials don’t yet know when service will return.
According to Bob Shively, Cumberland County’s director of public safety, the outage is causing routing issues. “When a person dials 911, their phone service provider is responsible for routing that tone to a specific emergency trunk line,” he said. Since many phone service providers’ routing functions are down, a 911 call might not be appropriately routed.
“I can’t tell for sure at this point which are working and which are not because even in a normal day, it all comes through in different ways,” Shively said. “We’re seeing some 911 landline calls are coming through, and others aren’t. It depends on how that call is originating and what layers of service it’s coming through.”