The outage lasted from about 1:30 to 6:30 Thursday morning. Century Link's routing system crashed and wasn't able to re-route calls. Pullman Police Commander Chris Tennant said outages like this are very rare, however it's a reminder of how important it is to keep your local emergency agency numbers on-hand.
"What's fairly common in major disasters is your call towers get overloaded," said Tennant. "And so, where the systems are working just fine, there's too much traffic and you can't get through."
Tennant said if 9-1-1 isn't working, people in Whitman County, Asotin County, and Moscow should call Whitcom at (509) 332-2521. The next number to try would be the local police.
According to Whitcom Director Patti VonBargen, the outage only lasted about an hour for Whitman County and Moscow area, and Asotin County's 9-1-1 service was out for about 15-minutes. Whitcom re-routed calls through their business lines and restore service before most of the state. Alternative emergency phone numbers are
Whitcom Dispatch Center: 509-332-2521
Pullman Police Department: 509-334-0802
Moscow Police Department: 208-882-2677