Update, May 26, 6:30 PM: The 911 phone system is functioning again on the East End.
Just before 6 PM, Southampton Town police announced residents can once again dial 911 and reach local dispatching agencies after the system was down for nearly 15 hours. The system is back up and running at other police departments as well on the East End.
Meanwhile, the Suffolk County Police Department said that its “Text to 911” program is currently not available while maintenance is being performed on the software. In the meantime, those in need of assistance are asked to call 911.
The text program allows cellphone customers to send a text message to the 911 call center in Yaphank during an emergency. The program works for those reporting an emergency on the East End, as well.
Suffolk police will advise residents when “Text to 911” is restored.
Update, May 26, 4:30 PM: Suffolk County officials are working to figure out what caused a failure in its 911 system, County Executive Steve Bellone said during a press briefing on Tuesday.
The enhanced 911 system, which automatically provides the caller’s location, went down at about 3:25 AM.
“We immediately kicked to the secondary system, essentially the unenhanced system,” Bellone said, adding there was “no loss of calls.”
The issue impacted a number of different jurisdictions that have local public safety answering points, 911 dispatching services known as PSAPs, nine of which have local numbers, Bellone said. The majority of those are on the East End, where police departments are separate from the Suffolk County police.
Bellone said the county’s Fire Rescue Emergency Services sent out messages to local residents about calling dispatching agencies on the East End directly. The county also worked with Verizon and those local agencies that could not utilize the backup system, so that 911 calls were rerouted to the second system by mid-day.
“We are working to get the enhanced system back up and running and we’re hopeful to have that back on today,” Bellone said.
What happened exactly to cause the system failure will remain under review.
Originally, May 26, 9:50 AM: The 911 system used across Suffolk County is currently down.
While residents who live in western Suffolk County can still dial 911 and reach the county police thanks to a backup system, departments on the South Fork are asking residents to call them directly instead of dialing 911 for help. East Hampton and Southampton town residents received robo calls about the issue early Tuesday morning.
A spokeswoman for the Suffolk police, whose IT department is responsible for the 911 system, said the department began “experiencing system issues” at about 3:25 AM. The Suffolk County Police Department’s 911 system remains functional thanks to a backup protocol they were able to utilize.
But, on the East End, where there are several different dispatching agencies, residents need to call directly instead of just using 911 until the system is fixed.
• East Hampton Village: The Department of Emergency Communications in East Hampton Village, which dispatches the village police and all fire and emergency medical services throughout the Town of East Hampton, can be reached at 631-324-0777. J.P. Foster, the chief dispatcher, said it is important residents do not try and test the system right now.
• East Hampton Town: Those who need Town of East Hampton police may call 631-537-7575.
• Sag Harbor Village: 631-725-0058
• Southampton Town: 631-728-3400 or 631-728-5000
• Southampton Village police, fire and EMS (as well as Bridgehampton Fire Department): 631-283-0056
• Riverhead Town: In a statement, the Riverhead Town Police Department said it is experiencing issues with its phone system, not just with 911 but the direct police department lines. To contact the department, call 631-727-4500, ext. 352 or ext. 602. “Be advised there may be a delay when calling the above listed number, but stay on the line and you will be connected with Riverhead Town Police Department.”
• Southold Town: 631-765-2600
• Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office:631-852-2288
This article will be updated when more information is available.