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911 passes unexpected test

By: Greg Bird

McCreary County 911 got its first real-world test last week and passed with flying colors.

According to EMS/911 Director Jimmy Barnett and Assistant Director Willie Duncan the issue developed around 10:30 Thursday night when AT&T technicians monitoring the system noted something wrong in one of their servers that operates out of the McCreary Dispatch Center.

“Within a minute of them noticing something wasn’t working, they contacted us and we put our backup plan into place,” Barnett said.

Duncan said calls were routed to the Wayne County 911 Dispatch, who also uses an AT&T system, then re-routed back to McCreary.

Barnett was quick to add that at no point did the malfunction lose any calls to 911, and no services were affected.

“The calls automatically rolled over to our administration lines, we just weren’t able to use our mapping system,” he said. “We never lost a call, all data was recorded and service was never interrupted.”

“This was a good example of how the back up plan works,” Duncan said. “In the event of a catastrophe, or if something were to happen to the 911 center, calls can still be answered and dispatched.”

It turns out the problem was in an AT&T server located in the facility that had gone down. A technician from London was dispatched that night to locate the issue and repair it. The full system was back on line by 5:30 a.m.

“They were very helpful,” Barnett noted. “The technician had to go back to London to get a part, or else we would have been back at 100 percent even sooner.”

Barnett noted that McCreary County, along with Clinton, Cumberland, Wayne and Whitley counties all use an AT&T system and have a mutual aid agreement in place for just such a situation.

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