Columbia/Montour 911 Merger Close to Complete

BLOOMSBURG--Meeting in Bloomsburg, officials from Columbia and Montour Counties discussed a project that's been in the works for about two years: the 911 merger between the two counties.

Soon, all 911 calls in both counties will come into the Columbia County 911 Center. To make sure they're familiar with addresses and technology, employees from the Montour and Columbia County 911 Centers have been cross training at each other's 911 centers.

"They'll get the same wonderful service. All the dispatchers are from Columbia and Montour. We know our territory," Commissioner Dave Kovach said.

In some areas of Montour County, addresses are being changed. Montour County officials are even changing some addresses in Riverside, which is in Northumberland County, because the Montour County 911 Center covers that community.

"When responders go and look for the addresses, it will all make sense and they'll find it. There's a fair amount of struggles when the addresses aren't right," Fred Hunsinger said.

Something else officials discussed was an issue some residents in Columbia County have brought up regarding ambulance response times.

"If they're not having a life-threatening emergency, it may take a little while to free up the ambulance to get them out to you," George Widger said.

"When they're dispatching a 911 call, they're already looking if a call does come in in Millville, where's our next closest unit going to be when we're dispatching the next one? They already have that set in place," Delcy Long said.

Before the joint 911 center can open, the re-addressing process in Montour County and Riverside must be completed. Equipment from Montour County must also be moved to the Columbia County 911 Center in Bloomsburg. The whole process is expected to take until sometime in late June or early July.