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St. Pete PD answering Pinellas 911 calls
County still investigating cause of system failure
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LARGO – Work is ongoing to get the primary 911 system working again at the new Public Safety Complex, as well as the backup system at Sunstar. Meanwhile, 911 calls are being answered at the St. Petersburg Police Department.

“We want to thank St. Petersburg Police Department. They stepped right up and we were able to route the calls to them,” said Mary Burrell, public information manager with Pinellas County Communications.

The county also sent some of its 911 staff to St. Petersburg to assist.

The cause of Friday’s 911 outage is still unknown, although officials think it could have been a lightning strike. Whatever happened also took down the backup 911 system located at Sunstar.

“We think it was a lightning strike that brought down the primary 911 system located in the Public Safety Complex, Burrell said.

She said the building did not lose power, but calls to 911 were not going through.

A preliminary investigation shows that the 911 system stopped working about 11:10 to 11:15 a.m. Friday, Aug. 15. Calls were re-routed to St. Petersburg PD by about 12:05 p.m.

“Our No. 1 priority was to get 911 handled,” she said. “We had to make sure people were getting what they needed while we figured things out.”

Burrell said county staff had not heard of any problems caused by the outage. She said people were able to call their local police or fire department for help. She recommends that people keep those numbers available just in case.

County staff and Verizon were still investigating the problem as of 4:30 p.m. Friday. The non-emergency number for Sunstar was still not operational. Burrell said hospitals, assisted living facilities and others that used non-emergency transport had been notified. Citizens should call 727-582-2090 for non-emergency ambulance service until further notice.

Burrell said the public would be notified as soon as more information was available.

“The important thing is that 911 is working,” she said.

The county’s new consolidated Regional 911 Center located on the third floor of the Public Safety Complex, 10750 Ulmerton Road in Largo, became operational July 23. It serves as the public safety answering point for the entire county.

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