Sometimes you learn things you never wanted to know.

Like, what happens when the entire state’s 911 system goes down?

We found out on Friday morning when dispatchers statewide realized their phones weren’t ringing — and it wasn’t merely a quiet night.

The system went down around 2 a.m.

Quickly, dispatchers got messages out, urging people to call alternate numbers, or use other ways to get a hold of emergency services like texting 911 or using the yellow call boxes outside of Michigan State Police posts.

We commend our responders for their updates, and for letting us know quickly that some kind of “technical issue” or “update” had taken down our emergency communication system.

We doubt many people in the system got a good night’s rest, as 911 wasn’t back up until 5 a.m., and the all-clear didn’t sound until 7 a.m.

And now for what we don’t know:

We don’t know how many people tried to call 911 and failed; each of the state’s 83 counties has some kind of dispatch system, be it separate or a coalition of counties.

We also don’t know why, or how, it happened. How it happened on a state-wide scale. Or why we don’t have a back-up plan for redundancy.

But we suspect that knowing now what we never wanted to will spur a thorough investigation and future what-if-scenario thinking, now that our what-if scenario has actually happened.

Because no one wants to learn the hard way what happens when you call in an emergency, and nobody’s home.