911 Call Center continues at backup location

By:  Kelly Sommariva

The center, that serves Lincoln and Lancaster County suffered a power outage Tuesday night.

Every few months, as part of normal training, the city moves 911 operations to its back up center at Lincoln Fire Station 14 in the Highlands.  They were planning to do that first thing Wednesday morning, but a power outage meant they ended up moving unexpectedly Tuesday night.  Now authorities are literally working in the dark at the old center to problem solve.

At the County-City Building on 10th & H, 911 Call Center Director Julie Righter is working by spotlight.

Just before 8 p.m. Tuesday, the center lost power because of electrical problems with a transformer, breaker and a switch.

“We don't know if there's any damage to any circuitry, but until we replace these parts they've identified that are bad, we can't move any further with troubleshooting,” says Julie Righter.

They moved to a generator, but before they could transfer phones to the backup call center in the Highlands- everything went out.  Righter says there were a few minutes where calls could have possibly gone unanswered.  However, Public Safety Director Tom Casady says 10 minutes went by without 911 service, but so far they don't know of any emergencies affected by the outage.  Since then, Righter says all systems have been up and running at the backup center.

“We're not without anything that's critical but we do have some interfaces that we want to get working,” says Righter.

“A lot of things that would normally populate onto your mobile data computer, forms filled out, fields from dispatch record, they're having to do that the old fashioned way… on a pad of paper,” says Casady.

The parts to fix the electrical problem are on order and should arrive Thursday so the city is hoping it will only be a day or two until they're back to normal.