Community urged to ‘look out for one another’ amid communications blackout

Emergency services have sought to assure the public they are still available despite the communication blackout– and urged people to look out for one another.

Multi-agency representatives attended Lerwick Town Hall this afternoon (Thursday) to explain their co-ordinated approach to the crisis.

Much of Shetland has been without phone, internet, mobile or television services after a subsea cable suffered a fault in the early hours of this morning. The problem is not expected to be resolved until Saturday evening.

Acting chief inspector Bruce Peebles stressed that while day-to-day telecom services were affected – the 999 system was fully operational.

“If someone has cause to phone 999 for police, ambulance, fire service or coastguard, it will be answered and dealt with in the normal way,” he said.

Mr Peebles said emergency services, the council and health board could also communicate via an airwave radio system.

For non-emergency matters, Mr Peebles has asked people to speak to any service representatives they can find.

Police will be setting up a hub outside Tesco in Lerwick and extra officers are being drafted in due to arrive tomorrow morning on the NorthLink Ferry.

Mr Peebles appealed to the community to “start looking out for each other” – particularly anyone who is vulnerable or alone.

Council chief executive Maggie Sandison added that council services were continuing as normal.

She said the SIC had already contacted all of its vulnerable service users to ensure they were being cared for.

“We want to make sure that people are aware that our services are still working, people can still visit council offices and council premises, and we will be able to communicate matters of concern.”

She added: “We need the whole community to come together and be supportive of one another.”

With cash machines unavailable, anyone without access to money and in need of food can contact the council’s social work team.

NHS Shetland’s director of nursing and acute services Kathleen Carolan said phonelines at the Gilbert Bain Hospital front desk and health centres were not working.

A&E will be open as usual – but for medical emergencies only.

People with scheduled appointments over the coming days are advised to attend as planned and staff will decided on a case by case basis if it can proceed.


Add Your Comment
  • Steven Jarmson

    • October 20th, 2022 21:17

    When we have no power station, how is our power going to guaranteed when boats take out the £bn power cable?
    Not entirely sure if this has been explained before, but I have a sneaky feeling no power will be more of a problem than no internet!


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