HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - 911 Centers in eight counties in South Carolina experienced technical issues Friday morning, officials confirmed.
Officials in the affected counties confirmed the 911 centers are back up and running after an outage that began at around 6 a.m.
According to a release from Frontier Communications, a network device was inadvertently deactivated during maintenance work th change traffic routing Friday morning. The outage affected over 44,000 Frontier customers, and service was restored at about 8:58 a.m.
"It's a critical system that we regard critically and these things don't happen often," says Toni Bessent, the 911 Center Director in Horry County.
Bessent adds, "it wasn't our system. It was our telephone company's system. It affected several other counties in South Carolina."
The counties affected were: Clarendon, Fairfield, Georgetown, Horry, Laurens, Lee, McCormick and Williamsburg. The outage was due to an interruption in commercial telephone service, according to a news release from the Emergency Management Division.
The Horry County 911 center was experiencing technical difficulties, stated Horry County Public Information Director Lisa Bourcier in an e-mail sent at 8 a.m. Friday morning.
Dispatchers knew something was wrong when it was eerily quiet in the control room.
"We realized no calls were coming in. So, we immediately put in a call to Frontier," says Bessent.
Bessent says she has never experienced a system-wide outage like this.
Frontier Communications writes WMBF News that "outages do occur from time-to-time, however, a statewide outage is an unusual occurrence. This outage affected Frontier exchanges throughout the State of South Carolina."
They say they are working to "identify the cause of the problem and evaluate corrective solutions for the future."
The SCEMD recommends a family emergency plan that includes an alternate means of emergency communications, such as an NOAA weather radio, and the location of the nearest public safety office.
More information on developing an emergency plan can be found at: