Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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May 31, 2013

Outage

Cut cable causes community chaos

(Continued)

Mayor Mike Allen said he first noticed the outage late Wednesday night when his cable service was interrupted.

While residents suffered through a lack of connectivity, area businesses and emergency services faced further hardships.

Palo Pinto General Hospital CEO Harris Brooks said the facility acted swiftly and decisively upon learning of the outage. He said hospital staff first contacted their telephone service provider before determining which lines of communication were down.

“We enacted our disaster plan,” he said, “we have one dealing specifically with communication.”

He said such unpredictable situations also call for flexibility and quick reactions.

“There’s not enough planning you can do. We determined what we were without,” he said, explaining almost all cellular service was interrupted.

“Cell phones were our Plan B. Plan C is walkie-talkies and walkers,” he noted, though staff did not have to resort to those provisions.

“Our internal phone service was working,” Brooks said, adding staff then called to surrounding buildings and made an announcement via hospital intercom.

The facility’s next concern, Brooks said, was for patients requiring transfer to another hospital. Fortunately, he said, a supervisor was able to make cellular calls through an alternate carrier service.

He said staff rebounded well and made it through the incident successfully.

As with any disaster, he said administrators will meet to discuss their reaction and ways to more effectively handle a similar situation in the future.

Many retailers did not fare well as system failure cost them significant credit and debit card sales.

A Family Dollar employee confirmed the retailer was unable to accept any form of payment aside from cash Thursday morning, noting cell and landline phone service was also interrupted.

At least one convenience store suspended fuel sales entirely for much of Thursday due to system failures.

While its off-site ATM machine was operational during the outage, a sign on the First State Bank entrance indicated the branch was closed due to the outage.

Crews worked at the construction site, east of Cool, throughout the day until service was restored shortly before 2 p.m.

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