Answers offered for Michigan's 911 outage

CASSOPOLIS, Mich. -- Multiple Michigan counties, including Cass and Van Buren, were left without 911 emergency call services overnight Friday morning.

Michigan EMS said a failed "fiber optic update" with the state caused the widespread outage.

Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke said the 911 system was back up and running for the county a couple hours later, but the fact the outage happened at all leaves many worried.

“It’s totally outrageous man,” Cassopolis resident Terrence Carter said.

“Somebody’s life could’ve been in danger, you know? People need 911.”

Just before 3:30 a.m., Michigan EMS posted to social media that a failed system update temporarily disabled all 911 dispatches throughout the state on its network.

“At approximately 4:44 we were advised that the system was able to accept 911 calls themselves but we were not getting the call data that comes with it,” Behnke said.

But to many with vulnerable family members, they can’t afford to be without vital help at any time.

“(My grandfather) could’ve needed 911 during this time, and I think that’s outrageous man.,” Carter said.

“That should never happen. Not in America.”

Cass County only recently switched to the network company the state uses, which 80 percent of all counties depend on.

Behnke said the state will pay for the fix.

“People expect 911 to work every time they pick up the phone,” Behnke said.

“This is a very rare occurrence. It was a very small amount of time it was fully down - just about exactly one hour. There are backup systems in place. There was a breach in that backup system for us in this case, but trust me; they’ll be working on making sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Luckily no reported injuries or incidents happened during the time of the outage.

Behnke notes anyone can also text message 911 in emergencies.

Share this article: