911 calls in Hamilton County affected by AT&T outage

AT&T customers reported trouble calling 911 Wednesday night. (Image: NewsChannel 9 SkyCam)

We never know when we'll need to call 911.

But Wednesday night when AT&T's 911 service went down, Jay Monroe got worried.

"It was a little bit unnerving," he said.

He and his wife both have service with AT&T.

"You don't think about that. You don't think about what happens if my 911 services don't work," Monroe said.

Diane Sewell did have to call 911, Wednesday night, when her friend got sick and stopped talking.

Sewell has a different cell phone carrier.

"If we hadn't been able to get through he would have died," she said.

Either way, she's worried it could happen to anyone who depends on a cell phone.

"People could die," she said.

John Stuermer is the Executive Director for Hamilton County 911 Emergency Communications. He says they can't control issues with a cell phone carrier.

"We try to notify our citizens of Hamilton County that there is a problem but we are at the will of carriers for them to get the problem resolved," Stuermer said.

The outage was a very rare occurrence but if it happens again Stuermer says to be prepared.

If 911 isn't working, call the county's non-emergency number.

It's (423) 622-0022.

That number will also go straight to dispatchers.

Others are at the bottom of this story.

Even if you don't have service at home for a landline, you can still plug it in and call 911.

That's a requirement by the FCC.

If you live in another county besides Hamilton County you can find it on each department's website. Like here for Catoosa County and here for Bradley County.

Here are the other non-emergency numbers:

  • Chattanooga: 698-2525
  • Collegedale: 396-3133
  • East Ridge: 622-1725
  • Lookout Mountain: 821-3151
  • Red Bank: 877-2481
  • Signal Mountain: 886-2123
  • Soddy-Daisy: 332-3577
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