What Do Emergency Officials Do When Phones Are Down?
When phones are out, emergency workers need a back-up plan for staying in touch when emergencies arise.
Phones were out for much of the north country after a fiber optic cable was cut Thursday near Cicero.
Even if 911 isn't affected, a phone outage can still cause problems in an emergency.
Getting in touch with first responders and doctors can be difficult, but Samaritan Medical Center was ready.
"This is something that as a hospital, we actually drill for," said hospital spokesperson Krista Kittle.
"Code 99 is the term that we use for it."
At Samaritan, the hospital can still contact EMS drivers through radio if a patient is being transported, but the real issue is getting in touch with doctors for emergency surgeries.
"Staff who might be on call or physicians who might be on call, we have to be able to be guaranteed to reach them, so we've asked that they either call in or stop in," Kittle said.
Firefighters were making adjustments as well.
In the early hours of Thursday's outage, it was unclear whether the 911 system was still working.
Volunteer firefighters were called in to their stations in all three counties. At North Pole Fire Company, there were only three firefighters there, but they were ready.
"Somebody comes here, if they need medical assistance or if they have a fire going on, we're going to take the proper course of action," said firefighter Cody Chayhitz. Contact dispatch and get more help if needed.
Firefighters were sent home around 8 p.m. when officials determined the 911 system was working.
Even so, emergency responders and medical officials will be close to their radios until the phones are back.
Saturday, May 18, 2013, Watertown, NY
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