On the busiest day of the holiday season for Academy Florists, an MTS outage Monday took out the company’s phone lines, disrupting orders and severing communication with staff making deliveries.

"It sort of got worse as the day progressed. We tried to get a hold of our drivers and if they had an MTS cellphone it didn't work,” said owner Irene Seaman.

Anyone trying to reach MTS technical support to find out why cellular and landline service was disrupted heard a recorded message.

“We’re sorry. Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number and dial again,” said the recording.

The outage meant some people couldn’t get through to 911, even if through competing phone companies.

MTS blames the problem on an equipment failure and says backup systems didn’t work as intended.

"Some callers were able to get through and there may be cases where individuals were having more difficulty doing so,” said Const. Jason Michalyshen of the Winnipeg Police Service. “Right now, we're not aware of any significant issues as a result."

Some internal phone lines at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority went down during the outage but the WRHA said it is not aware of any medical emergencies where people couldn’t access 911.

Michalyshen said 911 outages have happened in the past and he expects the situation will arise again.

He said if it does, people should be proactive about checking on vulnerable friends and relatives.

"Whether that's by physically going to their residence, trying to make contact with a neighbour and having them go next door and double-check on them and make sure they're OK, I think that's what communities do,” said Michalyshen.

In an email, MTS said it is testing the equipment that failed but the company wouldn’t provide anybody to answer questions on Tuesday.