Submitted by San Juan County Department of Emergency Management
The San Juan County and Town of Friday Harbor governments, as well as local emergency response agencies, are monitoring updates from Rock Island and CenturyLink regarding the scheduled disruption to island communications services. Here are the most critical issues:
• The disruption is due to work on Highway 20 in Anacortes.
• The disruption is expected to start at 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 12 and conclude no later than 6 a.m. on Friday, April 13.
• CenturyLink landline phones will be operational, including customers’ ability to call 911.
• CenturyLink data services, including VOIP phones will be nonoperational during the outage.
• Rock Island VOIP phone services will be operational.
• Most Rock Island data services will be very limited to nonoperational.
• T-Mobile cellular customers should have service for voice, including 911, and very limited data.
• Service for other cellular phone customers will likely be impacted. However, all cell phone users should be able to call 911 on their cell phones if they’re in range of any functioning provider tower, including T-Mobile. Even if the phone says no coverage, 911 calls may still go through.
Do not call Rock Island, or CenturyLink to report or inquire about the outage, or make 911 test calls during the event. If you have any kind of a data connection, do not stream video. This will tie up backup systems residents are counting on to carry 911 and other critical calls.
Residents who live alone and use a “Life Alert” type device, consider staying with a friend or arrange to have a friend or neighbor check on or stay with you.
In the event of an emergency during the communications disruption, here’s what to do:
First, if you have access to a landline phone, use it to call 911.
If that doesn’t work and you have access to a cellular phone, use it to call 911, even if it seems like you don’t have service.
If neither of those options work, and you live on:
Orcas: Go to the Eastsound, Deer Harbor or Doe Bay fire stations and report the emergency to staff on duty.
San Juan: Go to the nearest fire station and use the 911 call box mounted outside the station to call 911, or report the emergency to the sheriff’s office at the county courthouse.
Lopez: Go to the nearest fire station and report the emergency to staff.
Shaw: Follow the instructions posted on the ferry landing signboard by local fire and EMS staff.
Outer Island: If cell phone and landline phones are unavailable, call the U.S. Coast Guard on channel 16 on a marine radio and ask them to contact San Juan County Dispatch.