911 Calls
5:52 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Nearly One In Three 911 Calls Are Accidental

File photo of call takers at work at the Willamette Valley 911 Center.
Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 5:59 pm

A new statistic from Washington state illustrates a problem 911 dispatch centers throughout the Northwest grapple with. About a third of 911 calls in Washington state are mistaken.

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CenturyLink Fine
8:04 am
Wed December 3, 2014

CenturyLink Faces $2.9 Million Fine For 911 Outage

CenturyLink failed to reroute 911 calls during a six-hour power outage on April 9th and 10th.
Credit AP Images


CenturyLink could be fined $2.9 million by Washington State for a 911 outage earlier this year. A staff report for the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission found CenturyLink failed to reroute 911 calls during a six-hour outage on April 9th and 10th.

According to the agency, the entire state lost its 911 service during the outage. Six other states lost service too, including California, Florida and Minnesota.

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911 Calls
7:50 am
Mon August 18, 2014

What Happens When Callers To 911 Speak No English?

Dispatch supervisor Brenda Faxon and director Mark Buchholz in the Willamette Valley 9-1-1 Communications Center in Salem.
Credit Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

In an emergency, the last thing you want to hear is, "I can't understand you." The reality is emergency dispatchers in the Northwest generally speak one language, English. But in our increasingly polyglot society, some people in distress inevitably can't communicate in English. Correspondent Tom Banse takes us inside a 911 call center to find out what happens then.

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5:16 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Text-To-911 Coming, But Dispatchers Prefer Voice Calls

The FCC has been pressing cellular companies and emergency comm centers to accelerate text-to-911 rollout.
Credit ICMA Photos / Flickr

This week, the four biggest mobile carriers met a voluntary deadline to be ready to allow consumers to text to 911. But don't try that in an emergency just yet, because 911 dispatchers in the Northwest don't have the capability to receive your text for help. The necessary upgrades are coming slowly all around the country.

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Century Link 911
8:42 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Century Link Explains How 911 Call System Failed

Century Link has given the state an explanation for the 9-1-1 service outage earlier this month. 4,500 emergency calls did not go through during the outage, which hit most of the state.

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911 Outage
8:10 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Washington Utilities And Transportation Commission Investigate 911 Outage

The State Utilities and Transportation Commission has opened an investigation into last Thursday’s 911 emergency line outage. CenturyLink said about 4,500 calls failed to get through during the outage. The telecommunications company said a similar outage that occurred in Oregon around the same time was unrelated

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Emergency Responders
7:24 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Who's There When You Need Help? A Profile Of A 911 Operator

Haley Emery is a dispatcher with the Whitman County Communications Center.
Credit Lucrezia Cuen

Some describe it as a sixth sense, others might call it magic, but whatever it is called, the fine-tuned instinct that some 911 operators develop is extraordinary. Our reporter Lucrezia Cuen takes us into the heart of an emergency response center to meet some of these 911 operators whose talents save lives.

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Spokane 911
6:34 am
Thu December 27, 2012

Citizens Will Wait Less, Use Texting, With Spokane 911 Changes

Spokane County’s 911 staff will soon grow, in order to speed up answering time. Paige Browning reports six call receivers will join the call center in the new year.

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