The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Department in Milton has reduced 911 emergency phone capacity because of a telephone equipment problem, county officials said Monday.
The direct lines for the sheriff’s office, county animal shelter and county Department of Public Works, all located on the County Farm property in Milton, were affected by the phone outage that begin late Sunday. Verizon is working on repairs, but it isn’t clear when they will be completed.
A temporary re-routing restored service to the sheriff’s main administrative offices Monday afternoon, but direct-dial calls to the sheriff’s administrative offices were still met with a busy signal.
The problem was traced to a buried phone cable on County Farm Road, and Verizon crews were digging Monday afternoon to determine what repairs were needed, said Sheriff Michael H. Zurlo.
“It looks like water might have gotten in the line,” he said.
The problem started at about 9 p.m. Sunday. Five of the 10 lines dedicated to incoming 911 calls were out, and so were all the administrative lines, said Chief Deputy Richard Castle. The phones at the animal shelter and DPW garage, both located near the jail, were also knocked out.
If the dispatching center received more 911 calls than it could handle, the extra calls were automatically routed to the county dispatch centers in Warren and Washington counties as part of a mutual aid agreement. Zurlo said dispatchers there would then reach Saratoga County dispatchers by radio, relaying the emergency information.
“There is no danger to the public,” he said. “It is a seamless process.”
He said he didn’t think any calls had had to be transferred as of Monday afternoon.
While direct lines are out, the administrative offices can still be reached through the county switchboard.
The problem first developed Sunday evening.
A grant the county recently received should improve the ability for emergency dispatchers to communicate between different counties during an equipment failure or other emergency.
The county in December was awarded a $2.3 million state grant to enhance its county-to-county communications system, part of a plan to interlink emergency communications from Saratoga County all the way to the Canadian border.