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Verizon experiencing 911 system issue in SLO County, Santa Maria

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Posted at 6:38 PM, Jun 19, 2023

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office says Verizon Wireless is having a regional issue with its 911 service that is affecting all of San Luis Obispo County. Officials in the City of Santa Maria say the issue is also affecting 911 service in that community.

“According to Verizon, they have a broken fiber line and they are working to get that fixed,” said Tony Cipolla, SLO County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer. “But until that time, it’s affecting the 911 system.”

In San Luis Obispo County, calls are being automatically routed to the Sheriff’s Dispatch Center on 7-digit lines instead of 911 lines.

If you need to call 911, be prepared to provide the location of your emergency and the phone number from which you are calling if you are a Verizon Wireless customer.

“We are asking the callers to one, name the location of their emergency, as well as where they’re calling from,” Cipolla continued. “That’s information that would normally be automatically generated in a 911 call but not this case.”

Santa Barbara County dealt with a similar issue in April when a truck struck a utility pole in Los Angeles, severing Verizon’s fiber lines. San Luis Obispo County reached out to Santa Barbara County when the issue arose and had a backup plan ready to go for residential Verizon customers.

“We haven't had any disruptions in service,” Cipolla said. “We haven't had any dropped calls. All calls are going through and there have been no delays, so that's the good news”.

In Santa Maria, 911 calls are being routed to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office. City officials warn this could cause a delay in emergency services.

They say people in Santa Maria should still call 911 first in the case of an emergency. If they receive an error message, the police department's emergency dispatch center can be reached directly at (805) 925-2631.

Verizon currently has no estimated timeframe for when the broken fiber line will be fixed.