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911 service restored in San Francisco after 3-1/2 hour interruption

San Francisco officials are investigating the cause of an interruption in 911 and 311 calls early Friday morning.

The City’s 911 emergency system and radios began having issues around 6:55 a.m. and lasted until 10:15 a.m.

Mary Ellen Carroll, executive director for the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, said at a media briefing that an initial assessment of the incident has pointed to a “local connectivity issue” and not a utility power outage, though the cause of the outage is still under investigation.

The department initiated protocols for a power outage, which includes dispatchers manually taking emergency calls, Carroll said:

“This is a situation that we’ve planned for. We have experienced power outages in the past and our protocols continue to support our systems and our response.”

In manual mode, Ellen said 911 calls are forwarded to other devices in a limited capacity. Emergency calls during the outage were tracked and returned by dispatchers.

City Administer Carmen Chu said The City’s 311 system is partially up and running, but warned residents that delays may remain in responding to calls.

Chu added that some virtual private network services, which allow people to securely connect to The City’s system, are still being worked on.

Both Police Chief Bill Scott and Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson assured the public that during these outages, police and fire will still be there to respond to emergencies.

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