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Service interrupted for ‘454’ phone customers / February 04, 2013
Halifax County telephone customers with “454” prefix telephone numbers were without service on Friday, for about ten hours.

According to Emergency Services Coordinator Kirby Saunders, his office was notified around noon on Friday that 454 customers were unable to dial any numbers.

“We checked around and found that Lynchburg was also experiencing problems with telephone service from Verizon,” Saunders said. At the time, said Saunders, he assumed that the outage was likely to be only for an hour or so. (Halifax County has some 2,000 customers with a 454 prefix.)

By 5 p.m., however, the outage was still in effect. At this point the Emergency Services office began to take steps it had previously established to cover such contingencies.

With residents unable to call 911 or any outside numbers, the Sheriff’s Department stepped up its coverage of the area, sending out more deputies to check across the affected community. They also encouraged residents to use available cell phones if needed.

By 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Saunders said some residents were able to call other numbers only with a 454 prefix. At that time, he said, his agency took the next step of sending out a dispatcher to man the Triangle Fire Department which had a 454 number since residents still could not call 911.

The dispatcher stayed at the Triangle Department to receive any emergency calls until 10:30 p.m., at which time Verizon notified Saunders that all the phones were back in service.

When that happened, the dispatcher then returned to the 911 center and Sheriff’s deputies were able to resume their regular duties.

As of yesterday afternoon, Saunders said he still had not been advised of the reason for the outage, but is hoping to learn more from Verizon representatives today.

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