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911 Outage Prompts Critical Reminder

Published: January 08, 2019 at 10:33 am

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Following a brief outage of 911 emergency communications overnight that affected numerous Connecticut communities including Newtown, local Director of Emergency Communications Maureen Will is reminding residents to post and familiarize themselves with the local 911 switchboard’s direct contact number.

Ms Will told The Newtown Bee that she was notified of the outage at approximately 1:15 am Tuesday.

“Staff was instructed on what to do, and I authorized the roll over of 911 lines to our routine lines, which is our back up plan,” Ms Will said. “To the best of my knowledge, we did not miss any 911 calls from the community, and as of [7 am] this morning, the lines are up and functioning properly here.”

The outage served as an opportunity for Ms Will to remind residents to be sure they know, or have immediate access to, the local alternative phone number in the event a caller somehow cannot reach help if they are dialing 911.

“[I would like] to remind everyone to please program into their home phones and cell phones the routine phone number for their local police department where they live and where they work, and post it in a prominent location and then remind all babysitters and care givers about the alternate number.”

For Newtown emergency calls, Ms Will said the number to program is 203-426-5841.

“Usually a Google search will locate the number for you,” she advised. Ms Will, who is nationally recognized for her work in emergency communications and who has served as a consultant and adviser to 911 system operators, assured residents that the state’s 911 network “is a robust and reliable system, and these types of events are not indicative of a faulty system.”

“I have faith in the system and those that govern the system,” she added. But at the same time, she reiterated the need for all Newtown residents to be knowledgeable of and to program and post the direct contact emergency switchboard number 203-426-5841, just in case.

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