911 Outage: DEM News

For immediate release

Friday Harbor, WA – A 911 and phone service outage is well into the second day in the San Juan Islands as local residents and responders continue to cope with the challenges of the phone outage. Centurylink has reported that there is a break in the fiber optic cable between Lopez andSan Juan Islands causing the service disruption. The break in the cable is limiting phone calls to the island of their origin. Residents of each island are able to call numbers on their island only. 911 emergency calls on San Juan Island are being routed to the local 911 center. In case of an emergency, residents on Lopez Island are instructed to call Lopez Fire district at 360-468-2991 from a wired phone or go to the main station at 2228 Fisherman Bay Rd. in Lopez Village. Residents on Orcas Island should call the Orcas Island Fire District at 360-376-2331 from a wired phone or go to the fire station located at 45 Lavender Lane, Eastsound.

Fire Department members are standing by at the Lopez Village and Eastsound Fire stations to answer incoming calls and initiate emergency response.

There are reports that cell phone calls to the mainland from Orcas and Lopez islands have been completed using Verizon cell phones. The break in the fiber optic cable has put Verizon cell phone towers out of service on San Juan Island, and this has caused occasional overloads on theMt. Constitution cell tower. Most internet connectivity remains in service on Lopez and Orcas islands but most internet service is out on San Juan Island.

Centurylink is working to resolve the problem as soon as possible, and local officials expect to receive more information about repairing the break and service restoration Wednesday afternoon. In the meantime, islanders are being creative in finding ways to both spread the word about the outage and remain in contact with friends or family on the mainland.

Dave Halloran
San Juan County DEM

Kevin Ranker

Kevin Ranker

KEVEN RANKER wrote on Facebook:


It is confirmed that a deep water offshore cable was completely severed. CenturyLink has divers and an ROV (Remotely operated vehicle) on scene. The ultimate goal will be to replace the entire 14,000′ cable, but locating that length of fiber-optic cable will take time. In the mean time two more immediate actions are underway.

First, CenturyLink is working with OPALCO to do a short term Ethernet fix so that our entire county would have 911 availability as soon as possible – maybe as soon as late today.

Secondly, CenturyLink has identified 6,000′ of cable that could be used as a temporary fix that would give all county residents all services.Jeff MorrisKris Lytton and I will continue to do everything in our power to help address this crisis. To this end, last night Jeff and I had a lengthy conversation regarding what steps need to be taken to create the necessary redundancy so that when this sort of situation happens again, it does not cause a complete disruption in services.

All three of us will continue this conversation.As a final point I must add that we are all incredibly lucky to have Rep. Jeff Morris representing us. He is a national leader on energy and telecommunications. He understands the technology and industry and has decades old personal and professional relationships with key individuals. His leadership the past 24hours has been tremendous.