Virginia 9-1-1 Centers Handle Backup Duties During Recent Thunderstorms (8/16/12)
Thursday, August 16, 2012 | Comments

The York-Poquoson-Williamsburg and James City County (Va.) emergency communications centers (ECC) in Virginia were prepared to deal with lost power following a recent thunderstorm after upgrading their 9-1-1 centers earlier this year with a call-processing system from Cassidian Communications, an EADS North America company.

The late-July severe thunderstorm activity left the James City County ECC without electricity from the primary power source. The short-term, backup power source initiated as designed; however the long-term backup power source failed. When the batteries in the short-term power source depleted, the center lost power and went dark.

Prior to the James City County ECC losing power, several backup positions were filled at the York-Poquoson-Williamsburg ECC in the adjacent county. The call-takers logged into the Sentinel Patriot solution as they immediately began receiving and processing calls from James City County residents.

“Observing the simplicity of setting up the James City County call-takers in our facility was gratifying for everyone involved as it confirmed the value of the careful planning that was done when implementing our Sentinel Patriot solution,” said Terry Hall, chief of emergency communications, York-Poquoson-Williamsburg ECC. “Not a single emergency call for service was lost, and the system functioned as designed.”

The York-Poquoson-Williamsburg ECC is equipped with 17 call-taking positions and received about 325,000 calls for service in 2011. The call center is responsible for answering emergency calls from the more than 100,000 residents from the region and dispatching for the various public-safety agencies within the county.

The James City County ECC, with 12 call-taking positions, answered more than 150,000 calls for service in 2011 from the county’s 70,000 residents and is responsible for dispatching emergency calls to the local police, fire and EMS departments within James City County. The James City County ECC also monitors the Surry Nuclear Power Plant warning system.

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