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Sedgwick County 911 dispatch not seeing increase in weather-related calls yet

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, at 12:35 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, at 11:14 a.m.

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Weather-related calls at Sedgwick County’s 911 dispatch center were somewhat slow Tuesday morning as snow blanketed Wichita.

Extra staff were on hand, though, just in case. Interim 911 director Kim Pennington said about 10 extra staff were working Tuesday, some throughout the day and some during peak commute times.

From 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, dispatchers had handled 87 accident calls. During the same timeframe Monday, dispatchers worked 32 accident calls.

The Eagle spent part of Tuesday morning at the center, where dispatchers were handling some accident calls as weather updates played on every TV screen in the room. A huge screen of various live cameras from state highways constantly updated in the background.

Pennington said the county decided to bring in extra staff after a conference call Monday with the National Weather Service.

“We’re ramped up” during the morning and afternoon commutes, she said.

People seem to be heeding advice to stay off the roads, she said.

“This was really well-publicized,” she said of the snowstorm. “I think with all the closings we’ve had, people are staying home.”

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