Island County 9-1-1 dispatch down four hours

Island County’s 9-1-1 dispatch service was down for nearly four hours last weekend.

Tom Shaughnessy, director of I-COM, confirmed a “power hit” to a telephone server knocked out the dispatch center’s ability to directly take 9-1-1 calls from about 10:30 p.m. Saturday evening to about 2 a.m. Sunday morning.

“When I say ‘down,’ I mean we couldn’t answer 9-1-1 calls here at this office,” he said.

Shaughnessy said the system has a built-in safeguard which forwards calls to Skagit County’s dispatch service. The agency answered 9-1-1 calls from Island County then forwarded them back to I-COM through an administrative line.

“All it takes is a flip of the switch,” Shaughnessy said.

According to Island County Sheriff Mark Brown, the disruption in service did not result in any missed calls. While it’s “kinda frightening to know that can happen,” he said the incident made clear the safeguard in place both works and is effective.

“Thank God we had it,” he said.

Shaughnessy said service disruptions are rare, occurring only every few years.

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