Software issue and emergency call
Dan Fulscher, Director of both the Logan County Emergency Management
Agency and 911, provided information on VoIP, or Voice-over Internet
Process, and a recent call to 911.
Fulscher said that on May 27th, a call was made to the 911 center by
a Comcast customer. At the other end of the call, a recording
informed the caller that the lines were busy, and the operator
should be contacted. The caller did that after hearing the recording
before calling the Lincoln Police phone number.
“When we were notified of somebody dialing 911 and receiving a
recording saying all circuits are busy, and there was no 911 call
going through in the county at that time, it did alarm us,” said
Fulscher. Fulscher said that EMA immediately began to look into the
issue, and they found that Comcast operates a smaller service called
TCS, which is a VoIP software company. This company provides
automated number and location identification for 911 calls.
“There was a software void that every once in a while would not
allow a call to go through,” said Fulscher. Fulscher added that this
was the first time such a problem has ever occurred, and since then
several practice calls were made with the same phone number to be
sure the connection is secure now.
TCS has since completed a series of software and hardware upgrades
to make sure that this error does not happen again.
“Everyone was upfront and informative as to what was going on. There
was no finger-pointing,” said Fulscher.
Since that date, Fulscher said no such error has occurred in the
county. Fuslcher has also sent letters and information to local law
enforcement and emergency personnel. In addition, Fulscher said that
should such a problem occur, Lincoln police and the sheriff’s office
can always be called in an emergency.
Fulscher also said that with a company such as Comcast, which
provides television and phone service, it is always a good idea to
check one service should the other go out, as there is a chance that
will be the case. In addition, some of these providers perform
maintenance in early morning hours, which may cause problems as
Glenn Shelton, Chairman of the Logan County ETSB, echoed
Fulscher’s statements. “As soon as Dan heard about this incident
with one of our citizens, he called me, and we went over the
problem,” said Shelton. “The problem did not lie with us at all or
our equipment, it was our carrier.”
“We don’t want anything like this to ever happen,” said Shelton, who
also said that this is still a great concern, even with the software
“Our commitment is to ensure that the services provided when you
call, are not only being provided efficiently and in an effective
manner, but an expeditious manner,” said Shelton. “We take this
very, very seriously.”
Fulscher said that with the amount of rain that has fallen so far
this summer and the approaching holiday weekend, it is time to
remind people of safety practices around the waterways.
Fulscher said that the waterways are already full, and over the next
couple of days the water may still rise higher.
“We ask those people on the waterways to please use PFD’s or
commonly known as a life-jacket,” said Fulscher.
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“You’ve heard of a designated driver, we’re asking for a
designated safety person,” said Fulscher. Such a person should
stay on the land with a cell phone in case of emergency.
Fulscher said that the waterways in Logan County have not been
thoroughly cleaned in forty years, and hidden debris and
undertow can become a major hazard.
In addition, due to bridge construction over Salt Creek, it
takes longer for emergency personnel to find an access point
into the water.
“In the last ten years, we have had four people lose their lives
in the waterways,” said Fulscher. Three of these incidents did
involve the presence of alcohol. “There have been successful
moments where we have pulled someone out just in the nick of
“Be aware of your surroundings, and be in a safe area,” said
Fulscher. “We’re really asking that you be aware of that.”
Fulscher also said that safety concerns apply not only to
rapid-moving water, but those who utilize private lakes and
ponds that can appear to be calm at first glance.
Sheriff Steve Nichols added that if water is so high that it
runs over the banks, people need to stay away from the water
Lincoln Fire Chief Mark Miller reiterated these statements, and
added officials have been measuring water levels over the past
several weeks, and that water levels often need to drop before
search attempts can be made.
“I know that people want to have fun and have a good time, but
alcohol, and dark water, and rapid moving water is very dangerous,”
said Miller. Miller also said that people need to make a plan for
any day near the water, and there should always be a safety person
who refrains from alcohol.
“Do weather checks, watch for storms, more rain can create a
problem,” said Miller. “Have fun, we don’t want to discourage anyone
from having a good time and enjoying themselves, but you need to
Miller also said that water sitting on pavement can be a problem,
and it should also be treated with caution.
Miller repeated that due to the bridge construction, emergency
response has to find other areas to access water. Miller said that
there have been moments in which the EMA has had to find entry in
Middletown or Mason City if necessary.
“With all of the rain we have had, sometimes just getting access
down to the creek is very difficult,” said Miller.
[By DEREK HURLEY]