911

John Froschauer / AP Photo

It’s illegal to set off fireworks in Tacoma, Seattle and most other cities in the region. But, every 4th of July, so many people ignore the law there’s little police can do. They say calling 911 about violations just overwhelms the emergency system.

Tom Banse

In an emergency, the last thing you want to hear is, "I can't understand you." The reality is emergency dispatchers in the Northwest generally speak one language, English. But in our increasingly polyglot society, some people in distress inevitably can't communicate in English.

So what happens then?

Emergency 911 phone service has been restored in Washington after a 6-hour-long statewide overnight outage.

CenturyLink spokeswoman Kerry Zimmer in Spokane says service was restored about 8 a.m. Thursday in Washington. Service was restored about 6:30 a.m. in parts of Oregon that also were affected.