The United States’ top services experiences a simultaneous outage over the weekend and this week, now with the 911 emergency hotline facing service interruptions as observed by several cities and states including Minneapolis, Tucson, Redmond, Arizona, and more. Speculations now rise as the emergency hotline’s outage is connected to Microsoft and UHS’ recent interruptions that cripple several services and functions.(Photo : National Institute of Health)
Emergency services, particularly the 911 hotline, faces service outages in several cities and states, around the country, with no technical reason to pinpoint. The bizarre events affected at least 14 states in the country, including Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
According to ZD Net, these 14 states’ police departments reported the service outages losing 911 phone connections and SMS emergency services. The reports that surfaced did not relay what caused the outages; still, officials see a weird technical phenomenon that shut down the services.
Now, officials look into and speculate the recent 911 service outage to the events that occurred over the weekend and the start of this week, as reported by different companies. The Universal Health Services (UHS) experienced a ransomware attack over the weekend, rendering its services offline for the days ahead.
On the other hand, the multinational technology company, Microsoft, particularly its 365 applications, experienced a similar outage with unexplained reasons. The service interruption saw its downtime around 5 pm ET. The three large-scale service providers are now investigated to know the interconnectedness of the phenomenon.
911 Emergency Hotline Services Interruption
Several Police Departments of the counties affected announced the 911 emergency services outage in Twitter, with Minneapolis Police (@MinneapolisPD) and Tucson Police Dept (@Tucson_Police) sharing with a tweet.
Both police departments, miles away between each other, report the outage on simultaneous times. The outages went on for 30 minutes and even reaching two hours for some affected cities. Minneapolis says the return of the emergency services two hours after its initial tweet.
Microsoft 365 Outage and Redmond, Is it Connected to Other States?
The City of Redmond (@CityOfRedmond) reports that city phones and emails malfunction and link it to the Microsoft 365 outage. Microsoft’s headquarters is currently on Redmond, Washington, explaining the city’s outage to experience the same.
However, speculations say that Microsoft’s services being faulty caused other states to have its 911 emergency service outage. Microsoft’s Dynamics 365, Outlook, Office.com, Teams, and Power Platform are the ones affected by the service outage, leading speculations to phone lines being disconnected as well.
The Public Safety Answering Points or PSAP are the ones that are widely believed to be the origin of the outages. PSAP is a telephony system that directs the call to call center operators who take the emergency calls.
Twitter users look into Intrado (@IntradoSafety) to be the concerned party linked to the emergency services, providing the lines and network for the 911 hotline. The ‘choke’ or traffic points all pass through PSAP first, and the outage interconnects all services, meaning that the provider’s system causes a ‘domino effect’ on all lines.