SCITUATE, RI – Rhode Island Public Safety Officials are seeking the cause of a disruption in calls to the state's E-911 emergency telephone system that impacted calls for emergency service for about an hour tonight before functionality was restored and the system was fully operational again.
The 911 lines were never fully inoperable. When people called 911 to report an emergency, the dispatcher could hear the caller, but the caller could not hear the dispatcher responding to the call.
Because the dispatchers could see the number of the person calling, through caller ID, they attempted to call back every person who called 911 while the system was malfunctioning. However, some numbers would not accept incoming calls; other times the dispatcher's calls went to voice mail.
Officials from the E 9-1-1 Uniform Emergency Telephone System are still trying to determine the exact number of calls impacted. Every attempt was made to respond to everyone who called 911 for help.
The cause of the disruption in service is still unknown. Rhode Island State Police and Public Safety Officials said there is no immediate indication of any suspicious activity involving the 911 phone lines or computers. Officials from the Department of Public Safety and E-911 are working with software developers and technicians to identify what caused the problems, and to prevent a recurrence of any issues.
The problem was initially identified at 7:41 p.m. and the system was fully operational again by 8:49 p.m.
While officials worked to restore 911 service, Rhode Island State Police and the Department of Public Safety urged anyone who had an emergency to contact their local police or fire department directly until the issues were resolved.