Scheduled maintenance by an internet service provider led to a temporary outage of the Missoula 9-1-1 dispatch center early Thursday morning, prompting officials to issue an emergency alert to notify residents of the problem.
Adriane Beck, the county’s director of emergency management, said the county was working with local providers to understand what caused the problem and why the redundant systems didn’t kick in.
“We’re diligently working with Blackfoot and Century Link to understand why the outage occurred and why some of the redundant systems in place for these types of outages were also affected by the outage,” Beck said.
The emergency line became inoperable at about 12:15 a.m. and was restored at 3:15 a.m. An emergency alert informed recipients that all 9-1-1 lines were down and urged them to use an alternate emergency number.
Beck said roughly 25 emergent and non-emergent calls came in during that time. On a typical night for the same time frame, Beck said, the center receives 10 to 20 calls.
“Missoula 9-1-1 had been working with Blackfoot for an anticipated scheduled maintenance that was to occur early this morning, and that maintenance did occur,” Beck said. “What we did not anticipate was that 9-1-1 lines would be affected by that maintenance. Given the maintenance is done and completed, we have no expectations we’d see another serviced interruption.”