911 calls in Flathead County went unanswered for about an hour Thursday morning after a construction crew cut a fiber optic line near Kalispell.
Immediately after discovering the outage, the Flathead Emergency Communication Center attempted to reroute the calls through its administrative phone line, and then through a backup system in Whitefish, but both failed because they were also affected by the damaged cable. Anyone calling during that time would have just heard a busy signal.
Flathead Emergency Communication Center’s 911 Director Elizabeth Brooks said calls were then rerouted to Missoula, which has been fielding 911 calls from Flathead since this morning.
"Well, luckily the 911 centers work really well together," Brooks says. "Because both centers are staffed with folks that are trained really well, the information that’s gathered is going to be pretty consistent with what we normally would be gathering up here."
She said so far dispatchers in Missoula have been able to handle the volume of calls coming from Flathead County.
At 6 p.m. Thursday, 911 calls were still being routed through Missoula.