GRAMPIANS emergencyservices personnelhave expressed concern after a three-day power outage left Halls Gap residents unable to call for help.

For the second time in two months, Telstra customers in the region were left in the dark with services dropping out from 11pm on August 7 to 9am on August 11.

District 16 Country Fire Authorityoperations manager Chris Eagle said the loss of phone reception in a popular tourist and hiking area was worrying.

“If the phones go down it’s a real challenge to ring triple zero,so naturally it’s a concern to us if it’s out for that long,” he said.

Last month emergency services attended five Grampians rescues within two weeks.

Mr Eagle said phone outages hadserous implications on emergency service response.

“People have to look for alternate ways to report an emergency,” he said.

“If they phones are out and there’s a car accident or vehicle fire, or even someone needing to be rescued,there’s a delay in notifying us, ambulances or police.”

Mr Eagle said emergency services were not reliant on the mobile network.

“It wouldn’t affect us at all once the caller was able to alert triple zero,” he said.

“It would have no impact on our ability to respond, we only use phones as a back up method. All volunteers respond by pager and communications are done by radio.”

Telstra area general manager Steve Tinker apologised for the outage and said the voice call and 3G service loss was the result of a complex software error.

“Issues with the Telstra mobile service in Halls Gap were reported late on Sunday night to Telstra,” he said.

“Telstra identified an issue with the 3G signal to the local area resulting in a loss of voice services to residents using the 3G network.

“Residents were still able to access data on their mobile phones and limited voice services were still available through the 2G and 4G network.

“Telstra apologises for any inconvenience caused and will carefully monitor the site over the next week to ensure it continues to operate effectively.”​

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