Widespread 911 Outage Hits Multiple States Just After Official Warning

Widespread 911 Outage Hits Multiple States Just After Official Warning

Just over a week ago, the Department of Homeland Security warned of possible cyber attacks against the Emergency Service Sector (think “911 call operations”).

The April 10 DHS memo said that previous ransomware attacks had “disrupted the networks of police department and 911 call center operations” because of their dependence on computers for the efficient dispatching of emergency services, ABC News reported, citing the analysis, and that similar targets remained tempting to bad actors.

Right on cue, outages of the 911 system were reported over no less than four states Wednesday.

“Authorities in South Dakota, Texas, Nebraska and Nevada announced outages in multiple cities,” CNN reported.

It wasn’t yet known what had caused those outages, according to the report, which was updated at 2:30 Thursday morning.

In Nebraska, residents remained able to contact emergency services on landlines, but 911 was inoperable across most carriers. T-Mobile was the only exception to that, CNN noted, citing a Facebook post from Chase County, which was affected by the outage.

A similar outage hit Sin City, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, but only for about two hours.

That department also provided updates on Facebook, according to CNN, noting that residents were able to text 911 but not call the number, and that anyone who had contacted the department during the outage had received a call back to offer assistance as needed.

In South Dakota, texting 911 also seemed to be “operating in most locations,” according to another Facebook post cited by CNN.

The South Dakota Department of Public Safety recommended that citizens contact the non-emergency numbers for their local police and sheriff’s offices for help during the outage.

The City of Del Rio Police Department in Texas also experienced issues, but seemed to indicate that the problem was limited to one “major cellular carrier,” the department told CNN.

“If you cannot reach 911 via your mobile, please use a landline or another carrier,” the department said. “We are actively monitoring the situation and will provide further updates as they become available.”

Readers of The Western Journal, if they have not already done so, may wish to consider looking up the non-emergency numbers of the local police and sheriff’s departments and adding those as contacts in your cellphones.

Also, while emergency systems outages are an obvious cause for concern, Christians must at the same time remember that our safety and security rest not in such technology — as beneficial as they can be — but in the Creator of the universe Himself. The psalmist wrote:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.'” (Psalm 91:1)

And a millennium or so later, Paul echoed that sentiment, telling the Thessalonians that not all people have faith, “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”

One of the things God uses to protect His people — in the U.S., at least — is the Emergency Service Sector. We should be grateful for it, and for the men and women who operate in it and respond to our calls for aid, sometimes at great risk to themselves.

But He remains the same loving and protecting God, no matter how well our computer technology is working at any given moment, and no matter what evil plans might come against His people.

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