The emergency network fell out in the storm – NRK Vestfold and Telemark – Local news, TV and radio

Several thousand were without electricity when the storm ravaged the weekend.

The strong wind also led to the emergency network falling out in several places in southern Norway.

Big problems

On Saturday afternoon, as many as 80 base stations were affected.

Monday night, the number is down to 17 stations, reports NTB.

Municipalities that are still partially affected are Tokke, Fyresdal, Sigdal, Flå, Krødsherad, Nesbyen and Rollag.

– The problems have been greatest in Telemark and Valdres, says Sigurd Heier, department director for emergency and emergency communications at DSB.

OUTCOME: DSB takes it seriously that the emergency network was down, but department director Sigurd Heier says that there will be situations where you lose coverage in some areas.

Photo: PHILIP HOFGAARD ​​/ NRK

The Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB) is responsible for the emergency network.

The storm led not only to power outages, but also to breaches of so-called transmission lines.

– This together has meant that the emergency network has been down in some areas, Heier says.

Both the emergency network, which is the national internal communication between the emergency services, and the emergency call services were affected by the storm.

Depending on volunteers

Vinje in Telemark has had major problems in connection with the power outage and wind in recent days.

There, satellite telephones, mobile phones and local enthusiasts ensured that the emergency services could communicate with each other, writes Vest-Telemark Blad.

The challenge was that residents could not report because the mobile network was also down.

– In a district municipality like Vinje, there is an unpleasant situation when it comes to emergency preparedness, says municipal chief physician Marius Opsahl to NRK.

Municipal consultant Vinje Maruis Opsahl

SURPRISED: The municipal chief physician in Vinje, Marius Opsahl, is surprised at how vulnerable the emergency network turned out to be, and how long it has taken to get it operational again.

Photo: Private

He is surprised that the emergency network was knocked out by the storm.

– What surprised me the most is how long it has lasted, he says.

Four days later, it is still not operational, Opsahl says to NRK.

Now the municipality wants a backup network with an antenna in the emergency room and several satellite phones, he says.

Roser plan B

That municipalities make backup solutions is valuable and good, Heier believes in DSB.

– But is it embarrassing that the emergency network is so vulnerable that the municipality must equip itself with its own solutions?

– I do not think it is embarrassing, but it is very good that the municipality has a plan B when something goes down.

– Even if the emergency network is robust, there may still be situations where we lose coverage in some areas, as has unfortunately happened this weekend here, he says.

Had luck

Mayor of Tokke, Jarand Felland, believes it is critical when preparedness fails.

Rapporteur in Tokke, Jarand Felland

Rapporteur in Tokke, Jarand Felland.

Photo: Lars Tore Endresen / NRK

In the municipality, the mobile network and the emergency network were occasionally out. In addition, the power was off for up to 48 hours in some places.

– It was a very serious situation, the mayor believes.

– It should not be like that. We should have a security that is up all the time, says Felland.

Ambulance professional Lisa Støa agrees. She was at work this weekend.

– When the emergency network is down, we do not receive a call from the VET center. That is the big challenge, she explains.

This weekend, emergency preparedness was strengthened with more cars in the district. In addition, ambulances were deployed in important places, simply to make the emergency services more visible to the population.

Fortunately, no serious incidents have occurred in the area.

– But it was luck, Støa emphasizes.

Takes seriously

When the directorate saw the storm that had been reported, they deployed crisis staff to monitor the situation and cooperate with the emergency services.

– In that sense, this is something we take very seriously, but at the same time it is not possible to build telecom so that you never get an outcome, says Heier.

Emergency network

The emergency network is an important tool for the emergency services at work.

Photo: Lars Tore Endresen / NRK

He believes there are other ways the emergency services can communicate if the emergency network is down.

– There are several robust measures that the emergency services are well aware of and use. It is a different robustness and functionality than what the public knows in connection with the use of mobile phones, says Heier.

Extremely strong wind

The storm this weekend was unusually strong.

– I had a conversation with the coverage director of Telenor on Saturday afternoon and he could tell me that they had over 100 poles that had been blown down or torn down by trees between Bruflat and Beitostølen, Heier says.

– There has been an enormously strong wind and it has come from an edge it does not usually come. Then the damage will be great.

Sør- and Nord-Aurdal in the Inland, which were also affected by the storm this weekend, have regained power. In addition, broken fiber cables have been repaired.