Monroe County 911 Center Busy During Winter Weather

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, Pa.  -- The month of March has been a busy one for the Monroe County 911 Center in Hamilton Township. Three winter storms and ringing phones in every corner of the room keep dispatchers very busy.

"It's pretty unique in that our call volume has really increased," said Gary Huffman.

Huffman is the 911 center director of communications. He says the March 2, 2018 storm was the worst he has ever seen in his 40 years of working here.

More than 9,000 phone calls were taken in a 48-hour time frame.

"We got a lot of calls from people stranded along the roadway, and because of the roads and the gridlock, we just had extreme difficulty getting help to these people," said Huffman.

Officials at the 911 center tell Newswatch 16 while a lot of the calls during bad winter weather are from the interstates and highways, they also have to respond to non-weather-related incidents, too.

Shawn Datesman is the 911 operations director and oversees the workers fielding calls in the control room.

He says while Wednesday's storm wasn't as bad as many people expected, dispatchers still need to be ready for anything.

"It can change any minute. As soon as the snow starts flying, couple degrees in temperature change and we can end up with a couple of accidents. It all depends on the weather," said Datesman.

The director at the 911 center says the only issues they really run into during winter weather are mechanical issues, but those problems are assessed and fixed as soon as possible.