911 service has been restored in the Panhandle after being out for about 10 hours Thursday night and Friday morning in all areas except Scottsbluff-Gering.
911 service went down about 5:30 pm and was back up around 3:30 am. All non-emergency administrative lines at the Chadron Police Station/Dispatch Center were also out during that time.
Chadron Police Chief Rick HIckstein says the Chadron center used the department’s Facebook page and the emergency phone notification call-and-text system to let the public know of the problem. The voice call described it as nine hundred eleven service.
Dispatchers were able to receive 911 texts during the outage and used the department’s work cell phones for emergency contact for those unable to text, posting the numbers on Facebook and in the notification texts.
Chief Hickstein says CenturyLink, the service provider, reported a fiber line was cut in the Sidney area, affecting dispatch centers in the eastern half of the Panhandle including Chadron, Alliance, Sidney, and Rushville.
Hickstein says his dispatchers were first told of the outage not by CenturyLink, but by their counterparts in Alliance and Rushville.
The company also didn’t notify them when service was restored; the dispatchers had been testing it periodically all night and noticed the system was working again about 3:00.
Hickstein said that as of 8 am, there were still some glitches being worked out but that both 911 and the non-emergency lines were in service.