Lincoln, Georgia – Telephone service in three Georgia counties is now restored after an outage left them without 911 service. Early Saturday morning, Lincoln, Wilkes, and Taliaferro County residents were notified of the interruption through a reverse 911 service.
Lincoln County Sheriff Bruce Beggs says a passing lightning storm caused this, but he says within minutes crews were working on the problem. It took two hours to get the phones lines back up and running. He says this experience serves as a good example for more people to join the reverse 911 service.
“We felt like even though we were waking the folks up, we felt like it was important to get an alternative number to them in case they have an emergency,” said Sheriff Beggs.
When phone lines were down people couldn’t reach 911, but through an emergency alert system, subscribers got important information.
“We have what’s called Code Red. It’s kind of a reverse 911. On Code red and that goes everybody cell phone, their email, sends them a text message,” Beggs told News Channel 6.
And while the service was unavailable, first responders used other means of communication.
“Our two way radio system was still functioning, so we brought a portable radio in and then we made various posts on Facebook,” Beggs said.
Sheriff Beggs says they did receive a few calls to the alternative number.
“We can actually record a message so it’s a persons voice or we can type a message into and then it’s a computer generated voice and because we were kind of doing it on the fly because everything was down we used a computer generated voice. So to some people probably being awaken in the middle of the night and then getting this robot voice giving them a phone number it didn’t kind of register with them until they got fully awaken.” Beggs said.
And the Sheriff says this isn’t the first time the emergency system has been used.
“We had a double homicide and we used it to put out an alert about the vehicle and the suspect. So on one hand it warned the people and then the later call gave them some assurance that the suspect had been taken into custody and we’ve used it several times like that,” said Beggs.
The Sheriff says this service is used strictly for emergency notifications only and wants to encourage people to sign up for the Code Red service.