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Overnight 911 outages caused by state provider

WINONA, Minn. (FOX 47) -- It's a service we all county on to be there when we need it; but Sunday night, and into Monday morning, South East Minnesota experienced massive 911 outages.

As of 1 o'clock Monday morning, all counties affected by the outages are reported to be back online -- but how the outage even happened, is still under investigation.

"It's very scary," Winona County Emergency Management Director Ben Klinger said. "Because we are taught form childhood if we need help, call 911."

At least seven counties including: Olmsted, Dodge, Mower, Freeborn, Goodhue, Wabasha and Winona were impacted about 9 p.m. Sunday night.

"We put out our non-emergency number," Klinger said. "We tried to put it on as many platforms as we could."

Klinger says it's not an issue with individual county call centers, but rather with the state's provider.

"CenturyLink is the 911 provider for the state of Minnesota. So all 911 calls go through CenturyLink and then get routed to where they need to go in Minnesota," Klinger said. "And what we've been told so far is that CenturyLink had a system failure somewhere through that process."

While Klinger adds that an outage like this one is a rarity, it has happened before. Winona County experienced a similar one in August of 2018.

"It was under an hour we were down, here in Winona," Klinger said.

CenturyLink was heavily fined.

Klinger says the State Emergency Communications Network Board will most likely investigate.

"Find out what the issues were, find out who is responsible and we'll make changes going forward," Klinger said.

He adds that it's a good idea to have your non emergency numbers in your back pocket, just in case.

"This is a rare occurrence," Klinger said. "This doesn't happen a lot, but that number is good for other things, too."

FOX 47 reached out to CenturyLink -- while it did confirm that an investigation was in place, FOX 47 staff has not heard a response regarding an interview.

Beret Leone

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