Nationwide CenturyLink outage impacts 911 service in parts of Washington

Authorities say 911 services are back up in the Seattle area after the CenturyLink outage caused disruptions that began Thursday.

A number of police and fire agencies say callers dialing 911 received a fast busy signal.

Those agencies said anyone who has an emergency should call them at their direct numbers, listed below.

One woman told KIRO7’s Deedee Sun she was in Tukwila with a friend when they heard more than a dozen shots fired and tried to call 911 for help.

“Once they (the gunfire) stopped and we knew we were both OK, I called 911, and that's when we were getting a busy signal,” said Kati M. over the phone Friday.

Kati said she didn't know why she couldn't get through until after she got home, and didn't get the alert that buzzed on cell phones across the state until about an hour and a half after the incident.

“That would be terrifying, to be in a situation where you needed emergency medical assistance and you couldn't get through and you didn't know why. Because that delay was really long,” Kati said.

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The problem comes from CenturyLink, which contracts with the state to provide 911 services.

The outage also affected emergency call centers in at least five other states.

CenturyLink  hasn't released a reason for the outage, other than saying something went wrong with a "network element".

In a Tweet, the company said Friday afternoon: “We made progress in restoring services across the network in the last several hours. We are focused on resolving remaining issues."

The FCC is already investigating the massive outage.

“When an emergency strikes, it’s critical that Americans are able to use 911 to reach those who can help,” said FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai.

“The CenturyLink service outage is therefore completely unacceptable, and its breadth and duration are particularly troubling,” he said in a statement.

The Washington Utility and Transportation Commission is also launching its own investigation. 
Meanwhile, local law enforcement is saying that as of Friday evening, all 911 services should be restored.

“Everything is working as it’s supposed to be,” said Sgt. Ryan Abbott with the King County Sheriff’s Office.

  • Chelan County: call RiverCom's business line at 509-663-9911.
  • Island County: call 360-679-9567.
  • King County: please call 206-296-3311.​​​​​​​
  • Bothell: 425-486-1254.​​​​​​​
  • Burien: 206-296-3311.
  • Eastside: 425-577-5656.​​​​​​​
  • Enumclaw: 360-825-3505.
  • Issaquah: 425-837-3200.
  • Redmond: 425-556-2500.
  • Renton: 425-430-7000 or please call Valley Com's phone line: 253-852-2121.
  • Seattle: 206-583-2111, 206-625-5011 or text 911.​​​​​​​
  • Snoqualmie/North Bend Police: 425-888-3333.
  • South King County 253-852-2121.
  • Unincorporated areas 206-296-3311.
  • University of Washington Police: 206-685-8973.​​​​​​​
  • Woodinville: call 425-577-5656.
  • Kitsap County: For police, fire, medical for North, Central and South Kitsap call 360-308-5400, text to 911 still works. ​​​
  • Bainbridge Island: 360-308-5400.​​​​​​​
  • Poulsbo: 360-308-5400.
  • Kittitas County: call 509-925-8534.
  • Lewis County: call 360-740-1105.
  • Pacific County: callers are encouraged to text 911 or call the non-emergency business lines at 360-875-9397 or 360-642-9397.
  • Pierce County: call 253-798-4722.
  • Graham: call 253-798-4722 to report an emergency.
  • Skagit County: call 360-428-3211.
  • Snohomish County: 425-407-3999.
  • Edmonds: 425-407-3999.
  • Everett: 425-407-3999.
  • Thurston County: call 360-704-2740.
  • Whatcom County: call 360-676-6911.

The outages reported Thursday afternoon stretched from New York to California and even temporarily shut down phone services at the Idaho Department of Correction and knocked out 911 emergency call services in parts of western Washington state.

Most of the trouble appeared to be in the West.

This is not the first CenturyLink 911 outage in Washington.

It previously happened in 2014 and the state fined the company $2.8 million when more than 5,000 911 calls couldn't be made.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.