911 service disruption reported in B.C.'s South-Central Okanagan

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A service disruption of unknown origin left people in B.C.'s South-Central Okanagan unable to dial 911 for help for several hours Thursday.

E-Comm, which operates the province's biggest 911 call centre, said it became aware of the outage around 2:30 p.m. and was working with Telus to fix it as quickly as possible. Shortly before 8 p.m., E-Comm said service had been restored.

The cause of the outage is still under investigation, the company said, adding that Telus technicians would be working “through the night” to determine what happened.

While 911 was unavailable, the public was told to contact their local police department's non-emergency line for emergency assistance.

"To keep non-emergency lines free for emergency callers, residents of the South-Central Okanagan are asked not to call with non-urgent matters at this time," E-Comm said in a news release.

Officials said any situation that leaves someone's health, safety or property in jeopardy warrants an emergency call, as does any crime in progress.

Non-emergency phone numbers for police stations across the province can be found on the E-Comm website.

Thursday's incident was not the first to impact 911 service in the South Okanagan this year.

Last week, authorities revealed they are investigating vandalism to utility equipment in Summerland, which left residents unable to call 911 from landlines.

Summerland RCMP said the first incident was reported in late March, and was followed by a number of subsequent complaints involving mischief to internet and television equipment.

Authorities estimated the total cost of the damage at $10,000. Investigators have yet to identify a suspect.

It's unclear whether Thursday's outage could be related to those incidents.

The disruption did not impact 911 service anywhere else in B.C.