FCC investigating AT&T 911 outage - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

FCC investigating AT&T 911 outage

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

AT&T says it has restored service for wireless customers who couldn’t call 911 Wednesday night.

An outage impacted AT&T customers in several states, including Tennessee.

The outage lasted for a few hours and forced AT&T customers to use non-emergency numbers for help.

AT&T tweeted about the problem but customers said they didn’t receive a text alert from the wireless provider.

Hamilton County 911 Executive Director John Stuermer told Channel 3 no one from the company contacted him either.  He learned about the outage from the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board.

“It very much could have been a disastrous situation. People rely on 911 and people know that number,” Stuermer told Channel 3. 

The Chattanooga Police Department used social media to let people know to call the department’s main telephone lines instead of 911.

Stuermer says it is a good time to remind people to know their community’s non-emergency number.

It’s possible that Next Generation 911 could have helped during the outage. NG-911 is the technology that allows people to send text messages to dispatchers. Hamilton County plans to launch the new system in the near future.

READ MORE | Texting emergencies to 911 could soon be possible

Stuermer does not know how many calls were missed but says there have been no reports of help being delayed.

“We will never really know how many people tried to call us because AT&T is really the only one that can give us that information,” said Stuermer.

AT&T has apologized to customers for the problem but did not provide information about what caused the outage.

READ MORE | UPDATE: AT&T corrects 911 outage

The non-emergency telephone number is Chattanooga is (423) 698-2525. Hamilton County’s number is (423) 622-0022.

The Federal Communications Commission says it is investigating the outage.

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