911 failure brings modernization need to forefront

Local News

After a failure of the 911 emergency call system in northeast Indiana on Friday, the founder of the ‘middle man’ company said it is time to update the system.

The IN911 network had a critical database corruption that affected call routing services beginning at 7:07 p.m., according to INdigital, which handles 911 service across much of Indiana.

INdigital responded to the outage and put in place a temporary recovery plan at the same time the primary service was restored at 7:58 p.m..

INdigital CEO Mark Grady told WANE 15 that “many of these calls went into a call processing queue and they were delivered to the 911 authority who then is either calling the member of the public back or texting them back.”

About 300 calls were involved. 

Allen County and Wells County emergency systems were down. INdigital thinks parts of DeKalb County were affected, as well.  

“This was a fairly serious event from our perspective because we’re far enough into this now that these kinds of things are unnexpected,” Grady said.

According to WISH-TV, multiple central Indiana counties also experienced outages including Hamilton and Madison counties. 

Grady confirmed the outages here and around Indianapolis were related.

“There are two call routing databases – in Fort Wayne (and) in Indianapolis,” Grady explained. The Fort Wayne database fell into corruption and it cascaded into failure for the Indianapolis location. That was unexpected. We restored full service at 7:58 p.m..”

INdigital has been running this system in Fort Wayne since 2005 with one other major outage happening back in 2006.

An overload of calls in a short amount of time getting the blame for this one. There weren’t any signs of a cyber attack or any kind of intrusion into the network.

“We just have an older network that is due for replacement and we just speeded that up by quite a bit,” Grady added. “We’ve been talking about it for some time and this just brought it to the forefront.”

The INdigital team is also working on keeping up with a changing wireless world, with carriers constantly competing, evolving their services.

“They have made a number of changes to their networks, they don’t need to approve those with us, but typically we like to do testing,” Grady said. “We’ll be doing that now.”

Fort Wayne Police sent out a post on Facebook telling people to call alternative numbers for emergencies. Officers responded to dispatches as normal, without any unusual issues reported. 

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