Communications Outage April 12-13

Anticipated Impacts from Communications Disruption Night of April 12th-13th

Both San Juan County and Town of Friday Harbor Governments and local Emergency Response Agencies are monitoring updates from Rock Island and Century Link regarding next week’s scheduled disruption to island communications services.

Here are the most critical things we’ve learned and that we’d like to make sure residents know:

  • The disruption is due to work being done on Highway 20 in Anacortes.
  • The disruption is expected to start at 9pm on Thursday April 12th and conclude no later than 6am on Friday the 13th.
  • Century Link landline phones will be operational, including customers’ ability to call 911.
  • Century Link data services, including VOIP phones will be non-operational during the outage.
  • Rock Island VOIP phone services will be operational.
  • Most Rock Island data services will be very limited to non-operational.
  • 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 your phone says no coverage, 911 calls may still go through.

Please DO NOT call Rock Island, or Century Link to report or inquire about the outage, or make 911 “test calls” during the event. If you have any kind of a data connection PLEASE DO NOT STREAM VIDEO. This will tie up back-up systems we’re counting on to carry 911 and other critical calls.

If you 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 you do have an emergency during the communications disruption, here’s what you should do and know:

  1. First, if you have access to a landline phone, use it to call 911.
  2. 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.
  3. If neither of those options work, and you live on:
    Orcas: Go to the Eastsound, Deer Harbor, or Doe Bay fire stations and report your emergency to staff on duty.
    San Juan: Go to nearest fire station and use 911 call box mounted on outside of station to call 911, or report your emergency to Sheriff’s Office at County Courthouse.
    Lopez: Go to nearest fire station and report your emergency to staff on duty.
    Shaw: Follow instructions posted on ferry landing sign board by local Fire/EMS Staff
    Outer Island: If cell phone and landline phones are unavailable, call Coast Guard on Channel 16 on a marine radio and ask them to contact San Juan County Dispatch.