Sequatchie County 911 dispatchers were notified by a police officer that their 911 phone lines weren't working, Monday.
A victim of the crash the officer was working, tried calling for help 3 times with no answer. This led to the discovery of a much bigger problem on this the Fourth of July holiday where calls for help typically increase.
Anyone trying to call the wireless 911 line in Sequatchie County couldn't get through for several hours. Imagine calling 911 in the heat of the moment, when you need help now but your call goes unanswered.
No answer it'd just keep ringing," said Winfred Smith, Sequatchie County EMA & 911 Director.
EMA and 911 director Winfred smith says the county's 911 wireless line went out around noon Monday and stayed down until 5 a.m. Tuesday.
"We take it seriously and we jumped on it as soon as we could to try and find out where the problem was and get the higher up notified," said Smith.
Officials say all land line calls were working, but any wireless call made from a cell phone wouldn't go through. State emergency officials worked quickly to identify the problem.
"I got an email back saying that up around the McMinnville area that there had been a fiber line cut and that's what was messing up what we call our trunk,s where our wireless 911 comes in on," said Smith.
Law enforcement increased their patrols, they even went door to door advising people to call the land line number in an emergency. The fire departments, police and sheriff's office also took to social media warning residents.
In total the 911 wireless lines were down for some 17 hours. Smith tells Channel 3, this isn't the first time something like this has happened. He says 2 weeks ago a brief outage lasted an hour, that's why he encourages everyone to save all emergency contact numbers just in case.
"You should have both numbers stored into your phone," said Smith.
The 911 wireless line is back up and running. If you call a 911 center and can't through, you should notify another emergency center right away because something is wrong.
The Sequatchie County dispatch center receives about 1,000 emergency calls and 4,000 total calls each month. Smith says there were no major incidents missed during the outage.