New Orleans considering new provider after 911 outage

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 5:56 PM CDT|Updated: May. 16, 2022 at 5:59 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans residents are concerned after 911 calls were rerouted to Jefferson Parish on Sunday afternoon. The city’s 911 director says they are now looking to find out the cause as they search for long-term solutions.

“We all want to feel safe to know if something is happening we will actually get someone to come in and help,” said Gina Brown of New Orleans.

Around 1:30 p.m. on May 15, the city’s 911 system went down, and calls were automatically rerouted to Jefferson Parish, which suddenly got a big influx of Orleans Parish requests for help. City officials say they received no notification from their service provider but realized there was a problem after noticing calls being dispatched from Jefferson Parish.

“After placing a couple of test calls, we realized that this agency wasn’t getting any 911 calls,” said Tyrell Morris, executive director of the Orleans Communications District.

Morris said the problem was caused by an unknown interruption with the city’s telecommunications provider Intrado.

“As we go through our process, we have identified that our call handling vendor Intrado has identified it as an issue within their system,” said Morris.

The city’s communications district was able to set up establish a new emergency call line and set up a backup call system within 15 minutes, but it took nearly two hours for the normal system to be restored.

Morris says the situation could’ve been a lot worse and to make sure things don’t get any worse, he says they are now looking for a new phone service provider.

“We are planning an upgrade. ESInets emergency services internet network literally takes the phone system and puts it in a cloud... and get just a lot more flexibility,” said Morris.

The call center director says they are not aware of any calls going unanswered during the interruption but citizens are concerned.

City officials say, for now, service has returned back to normal as they look for a new provider, who they hope will provide more reliability.

Morris says the proposed new call delivery system will do a much better job of identifying exactly where a call is coming from. He says he hopes to have the new system in place by July.

FOX 8 reached out to Intrado for comment, but have not heard back.

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