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Eastern Ore. Emergency Officials Play Catch Up After Power Failure

Emergency officials in Eastern Oregon are trying to catch up today after a power outage Thursday interrupted some emergency and civil services.

The 911  call center in the city of Ontario was without power for about four hours Thursday. Emergency calls were routed to Malheur County. A single dispatcher was overwhelmed with all calls for both the city and county. 

Lietenant Rob Hunsucker, who works in Malheur County emergency services, says police and ambulances were still able to respond to all emergencies. But the outage also brought down the county’s web-based records management system. 

“We just don’t keep a lot of hard copies anymore,” Hunsucker said. “For the processing part anyway, the civil department came to a standstill. The jail still managed. The 911 center was still able to process and manage calls.”  

Idaho Power says the outage was caused by a fault in a power line. All emergency systems have been restored. Hunsucker says the county is now catching up by digitizing yesterday’s paper records trail.

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