Morgan County 911 Director says 911 still reachable during outages

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. – It’s been 12 days since the bombing in Nashville, causing a large service outage for AT&T customers. Luckily, service was restored within a few days, but many were worried about the ability to call 911 in an emergency.

As Morgan County 911 Director Jeanie Pharis says, emergency calls won’t go unanswered if your phone is without service. She said even with many experiencing the outage, they were still able to receive the emergency calls.

“Even though the cellular system was down and your AT&T phone or service phone may not have shown service, there’s a good chance that you could still call 911,” said Pharis.

As part of the fail-safe aspect of 911, Pharis say even if you’re phone is disconnected from your own network, it can connect with another carrier’s network for your emergency call to go through.

“We were receiving 911 calls from AT&T customers during that time, even though they may not be able to call each other or send a text message out,” she adds.

Another option is Wi-Fi calling or texting. Whether you’re connected to your own Wi-Fi or a public Wi-Fi, you can still call or text 911 with your emergency if your county provides the service.

“When the outage occurred, we could receive calls from 911 through your AT&T phone but we did not get location information and same thing with the test messages,” said Pharis. “When we get them in, we need to know your location so please be patient with us if we don’t move on with questioning because we have to have a location. If we don’t know where to send help, then the rest of the information is just not very good for us.”

The 911 system in Nashville did go down after the explosion and Pharis says if this were to happen in the Morgan County area, they would search for a phone or landline that could take calls. She says they would update news outlets and media platforms to keep everyone informed on the change.

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