From 1 a.m. June 29, 2012, to 1 a.m. June 30, 2012, our 911 center handled 1,220 calls as compared to 529 calls between the same dates and times in 2011. Consider these facts with those statistics; we handled almost triple the amount of calls with less phone lines operating, normally 10 lines but down to four, with the same number of dispatchers that answer the calls on an everyday basis, and without any known consequences.
This is only possible with dedicated, trained, prepared dispatchers, and good equipment. These same dispatchers had to move from our center, when our phone lines completely went down, to our back-up center at the Parkersburg Police Department, where they had to endure very poor lighting and no air conditioning. In light of all the adversity, 911 calls were still being answered and handled without any known consequences.
We are fortunate in Wood County to have systems and dedicated dispatchers in place to handle such emergencies. There were counties, not only in West Virginia but surrounding states, that completely lost 911 service for hours and up to days. We are proud to say we were only down for a few minutes while the phone lines were being transferred to our back-up center. We at no time lost power at our main center. Our natural gas generator was in operation prior to the electric going off.
I am proud of our dispatchers and our center to have been able to weather the storm.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Randy Lowe is Director of the Wood County 911 center.