Software update misrouted 911 calls in Hamilton, other Tennessee counties

In this 2003 staff file photo, Hamilton County 911 Emergency dispatcher Dennis Witt takes a call at the call center on Amnicola Highway.

An issue that scrambled emergency communications across the state Tuesday appears to have been caused by a software update.

The Hamilton County Emergency Communications District first sent a news release shortly after 4 p.m. concerning emergency calls being misrouted to other 911 centers in the state.

Affected by the issue were more than a dozen emergency communications centers, including Bradley County, McMinn County and Knox County. The district distributed a second release almost two hours later confirming the problem seemed to have been resolved.

"By all indication it appears that this issue has been resolved and 911 calls are being routed to the proper 911 center," wrote John Stuermer, executive director of the center.

It's unclear how many calls in Hamilton County were misrouted over the course of the afternoon and Stuermer did not return a request for comment Wednesday.

Kevin Walters, communications director for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, said the issue appears to have begun around 1:25 p.m. and lasted until 5:45 p.m. He said it occurred during a software update by a location database management company.

"Tennessee consumers should remember that while misrouted calls may occur occasionally, widespread incidents like this are extremely rare. The Board has requested additional information from the database management company to learn more about this incident," he said.

"At this point, we're still gathering info. But staff tells me that based on what we know ... it did not impact every call in every district. We do not know how many were misrouted in total, since several carriers were involved."

Walters added he was told misrouted calls were answered and processed.

Contact staff writer Emmett Gienapp at or 423-757-6731. Follow him on Twitter @emmettgienapp.