911 System Down? After Widespread Outage, Authorities Plead For People to Avoid Test Calls

The system that carries 911 emergency calls suffered a temporary outage Monday night. Calls in Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, Arizona and Delaware were affected with Minneapolis police claiming the loss of service in the U.S. affected the entire country.

"ATTENTION: The 911 lines are not operational nationwide," tweeted the Minneapolis Police Department. "This is for phone calls and text messaging."

The outage lasted less than an hour.

"Our policy is not to delete tweets, but we've pulled down the tweet about 911 being down," tweeted the Hennepin County Sherrif's Department in Minnesota. "It been restored and we do not want people to falsely think it is still down. Please do not call 911 to test the system, as it may interfere with real emergency calls getting through."

The cause of the outage was not immediately clear. Newsweek reached out to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for comment.

Police departments in several states reported an outage Monday which prevented users from making call to the 911 emergency system. iStock/Getty

Monday night, Microsoft reported an outage for its 365 Cloud services, which affected user access to various services supplied by the tech company. No connection between the Microsoft outage and the 911 loss of service has been established.

911 service disruptions have occurred before. In 2018, an outage at telecommunications company CenturyLink caused some 22 million individuals over 39 states to be unable to call 911 for more than 24 hours. At the time, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the outage was completely unacceptable.

"When an emergency strikes, it's critical that Americans are able to use 911 to reach those who can help," Pai wrote in a statement. "The CenturyLink service outage is therefore completely unacceptable, and its breadth and duration are particularly troubling."

According to a report from the FCC, at least 886 calls were not delivered to 911 during that outage.

On Monday, health care provider Universal Health Services reported that its computer system had been compromised by an information technology issue and was offline. Universal Health Services operates more than 400 facilities in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.

"We implement extensive IT security protocols and working diligently with our IT security partners to restore IT operations as quickly as possible," read a statement on the Universal Health Services website. "Patient care continues to be delivered safely and effectively."

According to the statement, no personal data from company employees or patients appeared to have been "accessed, copied or misused."

Other companies reporting internet outages on Monday according to the tracking site Downdetector included Zoom, Costco, Credit One Bank and Southern California Edison.

911 System Down? After Widespread Outage, Authorities Plead For People to Avoid Test Calls | U.S.