911 call connectivity issues in Walton and surrounding counties

911 Down
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 9:55 AM CST
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WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - 911 calls were dropping across the panhandle Friday due to unexplained connectivity issues.

“If you’re in trouble, that’s the first thing you do, you call 911,” Carol Henry, visiting Walton County, said. “And if it’s not available, I don’t know. I just think that the people who need it would be totally freaked.”

What happens if your 911 call fails or gets disconnected?

“Well, it’s kind of scary,” Walton County resident Kevin Deloney said.

As of Friday morning, several agencies in the Panhandle are experiencing connectivity issues. That’s according to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.

WCSO and surrounding counties are experiencing connectivity issues with hard lines and 911. Officials say if the line is disconnected, call back.

“I think it’s terrible if someone’s really in danger. Their life could be at risk,” Walton County resident Michael Karpinski said.

This is affecting multiple agencies across the Panhandle.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office posted to Facebook asking people to call their 10-digit number instead, (850) 651-7400 option 1.

Michele Nicholson, the Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s Office, said those who call 911 and get disconnected will still get a call back.

“Luckily we have a third-party system that allows the calls to show up on a map in our dispatch unit and it will show the location and the actual number. So if that call does not go through the 911 system for whatever reason, our dispatchers are still aware of it,” Nicholson said.

But even if it’s a short wait, it still takes more time. And in an emergency, time is everything.

“I have an elderly mother and if she has fallen or someone was trying to break into her house and she called 911 and they put on hold, I’d be very upset,” Karpinski said.

Holmes and Jackson Counties also reported experiencing issues.

There were no connectivity problems reported from the Bay County Sheriff’s Office or the Bay Emergency Operations Center.