The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

By Rick Nelson
Wah. Co. Eagle 

County dispatchers deal with outage


April 16, 2014

Wahkiakum County dispatchers apparently didn't miss any calls for emergency assistance when CentruyLink's emergency dispatching services went down statewide last week.

Joannie Bjorge, chief civil deputy in the Wahkiakum County Sheriff's Office, and regional dispatch center administrators will get together to discuss the outage.

"There's a lot of discontent in the 9-1-1 world about CenturyLink," Bjorge told the Wahkiakum County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.

CenturyLink didn't notify the county that the system was down, Bjorge said; Wahkiakum learned of the situation from Cowlitz County, who handles Wahkiakum calls when Wahkiakum's system goes down. Cowlitz in turn had been notified by Clark County.

Wahkiakum dispatchers activated their reverse 9-1-1 call service to notify county residents that the 9-1-1 system wasn't working and to use sheriff's office business numbers if needed. Wireless callers didn't receive notifications because the county is transferring those numbers to a new vendor, and that process isn't yet completed, Bjorge said.

Bjorge acknowledged that there were complaints from citizens about being awakened at 3 a.m. by the notifications.

"We felt it was much more important to get the word out so people can get a hold of us if they need to," she said.

Bjorge added the uninterruptible power supply battery for the system failed and brought the system down for a while Sunday morning. County staff determined the problem and restored service.

"It's 20 years old; a lot of things need to be updated," Bjorge said. "We're looking at the best plan of action to go forward."


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