The Medina County cellphone 911 system experienced a 2½-hour outage early Friday morning.
Sheriff Tom Miller said the outage was caused by a problem with Frontier Mobile “somewhere in Indiana.”
Sheriff’s Capt. David Centner said the wireless phone service provider was working on equipment in Indiana that caused the blackout “across the county and into Copley and Fairlawn.”
The 911 calls from cellphones stopped working properly about midnight. Service was restored by about 2:30 a.m.
Center said 911 calls from landlines were not disrupted. That’s because 911 calls made from cellphones are answered by dispatchers at the Medina County Sheriff’s Office, who transfer the calls to the appropriate local law enforcement and emergency responders.
But 911 calls made on landlines go directly to the local agency.
Centner said people are using cellphones more often and dropping landlines to save money.
“Unfortunately, landlines are becoming a thing of the past, and when these things happen, it becomes very difficult for people to reach emergency officials,” Centner said.
Centner said the best thing to do when someone has an emergency during a cellphone outage is to contact a relative or friend who has a landline.
Residents with emergencies during outages also can call the nonemergency dispatch number at (330) 725-6631.
Centner said outages like the one experienced Friday are rare.
“There has not been one any other time in recent memory,” he said.
Contact reporter Andrew Davis at (330) 721-4050 or email@example.com.