Back up systems kick in when Rankin County's 911 system lost con - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Back up systems kick in when Rankin County's 911 system lost connection

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
RANKIN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

In the event of an emergency, 911 can be the difference between life and death. But what happens if the emergency system goes down?It happened to three metro law enforcement agencies this weekend. 

"It was very chaotic. It did go pretty seamlessly for what it was," said Rankin County S.O. Lt of Communications James Rayborn.

Friday the county's 911 center was silent for about 19 hours after a fiber optics line, 17 feel below ground was severed. It shut down phone and computer systems.

"Murphy's Law kicked in Friday for us," said Sheriff Bryan Bailey. "There were like seven fires going at one time".

An estimated 115,000 people in the county were affected.

"With the technology we have, there's some redundancy in the system, so all 911 calls started going to Flowood," added Bailey.

Communications continued by police radio.  Two hours later the EOC was in operation.

 "We have a backup dispatch center here on Marquette Road. So we got our Rankin County IT Department, Rankin EOC and AT&T and moved this whole dispatching center down to Marquette Road," said the sheriff.

The 911 Communications Center handles about 202,000 calls a year, emergency, non-emergency and medical.

"This is one of the toughest jobs you can have in this business," added Rayborn. "You're the true first officer on the scene. Anything that comes in here you can change the course of how it ends up by what you say on the phone".

By 11 Saturday morning operations were back to normal, and officials said no calls for service were missed.

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