Equipment Glitch Cuts Land & Cell Service this A.M.

From Brendan CowanDirector
San Juan County Department of Emergency Management

According to CenturyLink, an as yet unidentified equipment malfunction in Eastsound has cut off some, and possibly all landline and cell phone service to and from Orcas Island, including 911 access. At this time, all other islands are unaffected.

A CenturyLink technician is currently enroute to Orcas from Friday Harbor via airplane.

A SJC Amateur Radio network is in the process of being established between the Eastsound, Olga, and Deer Harbor Fire Stations and County Dispatch in Friday Harbor, and should be fully operational in no more than 30 minutes. Anyone needing 911 assistance should go to one of these locations, keeping in mind that the Eastsound Station is the best choice, depending on proximity and urgency.


Orcas Island Fire and Rescue is ready and available to respond any emergency incident.

At this time, they ask that all emergencies be first communicated via the routine 911 system. If 911 does not work, citizens should call the Eastsound Fire station at 360-376-2331. You may also contact OIFR by email at

If no communications are available, citizens with emergencies should report to the following fire stations: 21-Eastsound, 23-Rosario, 25-Olga/Obstruction Pass, 22-West Sound, 24-Deer Harbor, 26-Orcas, 27- Doe Bay.

Any changes to the status of this situation will be communicated as soon as possible.

CenturyLink is currently working on fixing the problem.


from Orcas Fire and Rescue

Centurylink officials have confirmed that telephone service including 911 access is in serviceand working normally.In case of an emergency requiring the services of Orcas Island Fire and Rescue call 911 at any time and we will respond.

Many thanks to our local HAM radio operators, The Sounder, Orcas Issues, Centurylink, our volunteers, and others who worked with us through the outage.

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Equipment Glitch Cuts Land & Cell Service this A.M. — 4 Comments

  1. Great response by Orcas Fire and Ham Operators and early instruction postings by Margie Doyle. The Deer Harbor Plan Review Committee recently opened the subject of what to do in case of disaster, like where to go and how to get there. A total interruption of all phone service for the whole island wasn’t one of the disasters we looked at and thank goodness we didn’t have occasion to find out what would be the worst that could happen without phone communication. We have come to rely on the phone equipment because it’s always there. And, on Thursday morning it wasn’t. What if……..? Just think about it.

    We will now take a hard look at what more we need to do to protect citizens when, and if, it happens again and add it to the list of information we all need at our finger tips. Thanks again to those who never missed a beat in their dedication & effort to “serve and protect”

  2. Atta girl, Margie! Excellent timely important reporting! Didn’t read it till today, but yesterday when I flipped on my PC and my emails wouldn’t fly I went to Doe Bay Boondocks Emergency Plan ‘B:’ Grabbed my Navy blanket, went out into the yard, built a fire, and using Morse Code, sent smoke signals that I was Okay! Its tough trying to send emails with smoke . . . .