This afternoon, the computer system that handles the phone lines into the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center was temporarily inoperable, impacting eight 911 and six non-emergency lines. The phone lines were out of service for 25 minutes. Typically, if a failure of the GJRCC telephone system occurs, the phone calls are routed to Garfield County. However, because this issue involved a system shared with Garfield County, calls were not rerouted to their facility. Communication center staff worked quickly to notify emergency responders that, while they would still be able to communicate via radio, phone lines were down and a cell phone number would be assigned for phone calls. Meanwhile, the process of transferring calls to the Montrose call center was initiated. Ultimately, telephone communication was restored prior to phones being rolled to Montrose. While the precise cause of the outage is being investigated, the initial indication is that a server failed, causing the 911 system to stop working.
The GJRCC is working with Centurylink to obtain information on any calls that were made to 911 during the outage. There were a total of 17 calls; 11 from cell phones and 6 from land lines. The information for the land lines was readily available and all of those callers have been contacted. The cell phone information is more difficult to obtain and has yet to be provided to the dispatch center. Once that information becomes available from the cell phone carriers, those callers will be contacted and any needs addressed. We are not aware of any medical or criminal emergencies occurring during this time frame. At this time, all phone lines and systems at the GJRCC are functioning properly. We appreciate the quick and levelheaded efforts of our communication center employees in working diligently to find answers and solutions during this outage.
The Grand Junction Regional Communication Center has budgeted for and is purchasing a new telephone system in 2018. The new system will be based on improved technology that will prevent this type of outage from occurring in the future.