Potentially thousands of Tennessee residents had no way to dial 911 last night, if a cell phone is their only method. Those who use AT&T as their cell phone provider found themselves without 911 service for hours. It is unknown if anyone, or how many residents were desperately calling 911 for emergency services, to no avail.
AT&T posted a tweet last night stating they were aware of the problem, were working on it, and they apologize.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, as well as various county and local authorities used social media to pass the word about the problem and instruct users to use another cell carrier phone or landline if calling 911.
Later in the evening, AT&T tweeted the issue had been resolved.
In the aftermath, it appears as many as 14 states were affected by the unexplained outage, and may have been nationwide. The FCC is investigating.
This troubling event brings to the forefront a couple of issues, spotlighting the vulnerability of residents who suddenly were unable to contact 911. Families should reconsider having all of their phones tied to one carrier, and should consider having the actual phone numbers to local authorities in their phone's contact list. The other troubling question is whether or not cyber-warfare was being tested within AT&T's service. If a group who means us harm has the ability to prevent a large percentage of citizens from calling for emergency assistance, it could be a serious threat.
The legal question that remains to be answered, is whether or not anyone who was unable to call for emergency services during that time, and suffered serious injury or worse, could accuse AT&T of being liable for any damages.
At the law offices of T. Verner Smith, we work with individuals who have suffered personal injury as a result of someone else's negligence. If you, or your loved one, is ever involved in an accident that causes injury or worse, contact us for a free consultation. Personal injury lawsuits not only have the potential to provide you with proper compensation for your losses but also help protect future generations by providing a safer environment in which to live. Contact us anytime at (731) 423-1888, (901) 730-4567, or (615) 371-6136.