Jasper County loses 911 service for more than 8 hours

Damaged fiber optic line to blame
Jasper County loses 911 service for more than 8 hours
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911 service has been restored in jasper county more than eight hours after it was knocked out, and re-routed.

Around 11:20 this morning 911 services in Jasper County went down. “We not only lost the 911 lines we lost the administrative lines too which is very unusual for us.”

April Ford is the director of the county’s 911 center. She says it’s not clear yet exactly what happened, but what they do know, is a fiber optic line that serves the center was damaged when someone was doing some digging on County Road 130 just southeast of the center. Crews from AT&T were dispatched to begin locating the problem and rebuilding the line. Ford says there was a more serious issue when the lines went down. She says they called AT&T to re-route calls to Joplin, which usually takes about five minutes, but for some reason, that process, wasn’t started right away. Ford says “So it took about 25 minutes to get the re-route started and that is an issue with the AT&T resolution center that I’ll be following up with their supervisor on.”

During that twenty-five minute window, anyone calling 911 in the county, got a busy signal. Ford says “I can’t imagine the feeling of calling 911 and getting a busy signal, when something like that happens, it’s just extremely scary and very nerve wracking for us on our side.”

Calls were re-routed to Joplin, and once online, dispatches could operate just like they would at the county center. “Having the same computer system, same phone system, we are able to, if we needed to we could go to their center and dispatch from there and vice-versa, so we already have that in place.”

Cheryl Konarksi is the director of the Joplin dispatch center, and both she and Ford say the procedures they have in place, did their job. Konarksi says “This is once of those instances that makes it really good that we can test those systems and make sure that they’re working and functioning and we can make sure the citizens of Jasper County and Joplin are taken care of.”
Ford says the Jasper County Sheriff’s office is investigating the incident, and she stresses the importance of the “call before you dig” numbers because she feels, this situation, could have been prevented.