FCC investigates nationwide 911 outage

NEW ORLEANS -- A federal investigation has been launched to find out what caused a 911 outage for many AT&T users Wednesday night.

AT&T reported around 9:30 p.m. there was a connection issue for customers dialing 911 on their cellphones.  

"I hadn't thought about that if I was in need I'd probably have to walk somewhere to get help," said Jasmine Berry. 

It’s likely tens of thousands of people across the U.S. were affected by the outage.  Locally, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office sent out an alert, warning of the outage. 

Authorities will have a hard time figuring out how many people were affected, as they have no way of knowing who tried to make calls at this point.

At least a handful of people wrote on social media that they could not get through in Jefferson Parish.  One Facebook user on the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office wrote, "This happened to me last night! Called 911 SIX times after being involved in a car accident. Let it ring around ten times each time and NO ANSWER."

WWL-TV also checked in with other departments including the Slidell Police which didn't have any issues as far they know.

"Everything operated smoothly in the radio room," said Police Chief Randy Fandal. 

Fandal said on average he gets about dozen calls a night, and yesterday was not out of the ordinary. Still, the outage is still something law enforcement are still discussing.

"I talked to the 911 center, and I believe they had a couple of instances in Mandeville," said Fandal.

WWL-TV contacted AT&T about what happened, and received a statement saying, "We take our 911 obligations to our customers very seriously and will be sharing additional information with the FCC.”

Meanwhile Slidell Police Chief said it's time to program local emergency numbers into cellphones because those have been working and in place since before 911 even existed. 

"Save that standard number," he said.

 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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