DURANGO, Colo. — A dozen 911 emergency communications centers across Colorado have filed complaints with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission over 911 outages in June and July that occurred mostly on the Western Slope.
During some outages, 911 calls were handled by other call centers, and in other cases, agencies did not find out for hours that their 911 phone lines were not working.
The complaints were filed against CenturyLink, Charter Communications, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association and other telephone providers. CenturyLink and Tri-State had no immediate comment, and Charter Communications did not return a phone call seeking comment.
An outage on June 17 in Durango lasted for about 10 hours. During that time calls were routed through Montrose, but in some cases, rerouting was not always possible, the Durango Herald reported (http://tinyurl.com/hkuxgox ).
“As a consequence of the outages and lack of notification, the citizens of these communities were put in danger,” the complaint states.
The Western Slope agencies asked the Public Utilities Commission to require telecommunications providers to come up with a plan to communicate with them during outages.
Mandy Stollsteimer, executive director of the Western Colorado Regional Dispatch Center in Montrose, said managers need to know who to contact when service is interrupted. “Overall, our goal is to ensure we have those relationships in place so we can provide the emergency services to the community,” she said.
The agencies also want a plan for backup communications.
“We feel collaborating with service providers on alternate methods or use of different technology (including the Internet) to build diversity and redundancy is the path to success in solving this problem,” the complaint states.
A hearing about the complaints is set for November.
Information from: Durango Herald, http://www.durangoherald.com