Your Thursday editorial mentions that our 911 emergency system was down in our state in several areas in Washington, Oregon and other locations for approximately six hours, and documents that Kerry Zimmer, spokesperson for CenturyLink, the contractor that services our 911 system, reported that CenturyLink’s service disruption was not good and they assumed there were no request for service where anyone was not responded to who attempted to call for help.
The editorial also mentioned that an Everett woman called 911 37 times as an intruder was breaking into her home. She armed herself with a knife and confronted the man as he ran out of her house. Also mentioned was a person who attempted to call for medical assistance, kept passing out and finally had to call her son in San Diego who was able to call for help. She was hospitalized for a heart condition. In all, it appears that approximately 4,500 calls for help were made with no response from our 911 system. Other comments made by the contractor’s spokesperson appeared not to take the outage seriously which leads me to ask, “Do we really need a 911 system?” You’re damn right we do. We spend millions of dollars annually and hundreds of state, county, and local citizens sit on our local 911 system organizations. I believe an investigation should be conducted to find out what happened, why it happened, has this company had this problem before, and what are they going to do so it does not happen again. I also believe that the incident requires that CenturyLink address the issue more seriously than just a routine technical problem where you couldn’t access your junk mail.