Power outage causes people to clog 911 system

An early morning power outage Monday resulted in the flooding of the Mohave County Sheriff's Office 911 emergency dispatch center with non-emergency calls.

The outage lasted from 2:18 a.m.

to 2:58 a.m.

and affected between 2,500 and 3,000 customers in Kingman and in the county, Citizens Electric Operations Manager Bill DeJulio said.

The outage affected an area from Stockton Hill Road eastward and from Andy Devine north to the Butler area.

The cause of the outage was from a relay failure in a transformer at the Citizen's Hilltop Substation, DeJulio said.

The phone calls, mostly from people asking about the outage, made it impossible at one point to transfer calls to fire and ambulance services, MCSO dispatch supervisor Jody Schanaman said.

"When asked if he was calling about a life-threatening emergency, one caller started arguing with the dispatcher," Schanaman said.

"We tried to refer him to the proper agency, the utility company, but he stayed on the phone and argued."

Fire and medical emergency calls come through to the 911 center and then are transferred to the appropriate agencies, she said.

For a brief time, during Monday's outage, all the lines were clogged with non-emergency calls, delaying for the moment, the transfer of at least one medical emergency call, she said.

"The person was on a respirator and not having electricity in his case was an emergency," Schanaman said.

"But we couldn't put the call through to the fire department because all the lines were jammed."

People who have a non-emergency problems should not call 911, instead they should call MCSO's 24-hour phone number at 753-0753, Schanaman said.

Kingman Police Department's 911 center, which handles emergency calls within Kingman, was busy with about 15 emergency calls during the outage far more than average, KPD Cpl.

Tracie McKnight said.

KPD's 24-hour, non-emergency number is 753-2191.