A fiber-optic cable problem led to a two-hour service interruption Monday night in the Spokane area that left Verizon users without cell service and unable to call 911.
The outage lasted from 8-10 p.m., and Verizon engineers worked with their fiber-optic cable provider, Zayo, to fix the problem, said Heidi Flato, a Verizon spokeswoman.
The Spokane Regional Emergency Communication, orSREC, center was in communication with Verizon throughout the outage, said Kim Arrendondo, the center’s deputy director.
While SREC has had carriers drop service before, Arrendondo said it’s rare.
“We just stay in touch with just whatever carrier it is,” Arrendondo said.
Most smartphones without a carrier have the ability to dial 911, Arrendondo said. In the event of an outage, people can use a landline to call 911 and use Wi-Fi to text 911.
“The text to 911 is for somebody who is not able to call 911 due to safety factors,” Arrendondo said.
When texting 911, it’s important to include a location so that first responders know where to go, Arrendondo said.
“We don’t know how to help you if we don’t know where we’re going,” Arrendondo said.
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