911 outage Sunday hit paramedics as well as police, fire

Police are looking for answers after a 911 outage hit police, fire and paramedics. No major incidents were reported as missed during the outage.

Hamilton Police are working Monday with phone service technicians at Bell Canada to determine what led to a disruption in 911 service early Sunday morning. 

The outage hit police, fire and paramedics dispatchers. 

The goal is to "see what actually occurred during that time" and determine what needs to happen to avoid an outage going forward, said Staff Sgt. Phil Fleming.

"We're not here to look for any blame but if there's anything we need to look for in the future, next steps," Fleming said.

Two calls were missed by Hamilton Police in the time between realizing 911 was down at 2:50 a.m. and getting calls transferred over to Halton Regional Police at 3:20 a.m. 

The 911 Surveillance and Monitoring Centre noticed the problem and advised police that there were two calls that weren't answered. The centre shared the number of the callers that were dropped.

Police contacted both callers. One call was a disturbance and one was a break-and-enter, Fleming said. 

"We're working with our partners to determine the cause of the outage and any corrective steps which may be required," said Jason Laszlo, a spokesman for Bell Canada.

Paramedics lost 911, too

In addition to the previously reported police and fire disruptions, 911 service for Hamilton paramedics also went out for about an hour early Sunday morning. 

The EMS dispatcher got a notification that the 911 system was down at 3:10 a.m., said Doug Waugh, deputy chief. The last reported call before that to Hamilton paramedics came in at 2:03 a.m.

In the meantime, two calls were dropped, Waugh said.

It was a fairly quiet night for us, so that was good.- Doug Waugh, deputy chief, Hamilton EMS

"What we do know is that there were two calls that were missed and the people were called and they didn't need medical assistance or ambulance."

After the outage was realized, the system was rerouted through Halton Regional Police and dispatchers in Mississauga could assign ambulances to calls in Hamilton, Waugh said.

One caller at 3:20 a.m. realized the system was down and called the paramedics' administration line, Waugh said. That was a minor medical call and an ambulance was sent out.

"It was a fairly quiet night for us so that was good," Waugh said. 

Fleming, at Hamilton Police, said he can't comment on the disruptions in 911 calls for fire or paramedics. He said he hopes the situation will have a solution by the end of the week. 


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