Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 2:49 pm

WyCo dispatchers fielded approximately 700 calls to 9-1-1 during the windstorm March 8

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The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office reports last week’s windstorm prompted approximately 700 calls to the 9-1-1 center between 11 a.m. to midnight March 8. In a span of three hours – from noon to 3 p.m. – dispatchers fielded 282 calls. 

The Communications Department maxed out its allowable staffing with three dispatchers on duty from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and four during the hours of 2:30 to 6 p.m.. By comparison, normal operations require just two, Sheriff Gregory Rudolph says.

With a mere six-second wait time on calls, dispatchers prioritized and coordinated the response of law enforcement, fire and highway departments, and multiple utility companies.

“Professional dispatching, strong teamwork from the public and private sectors, and the skilled volunteerism from the fire, EMS, and Red Cross communities, provided the finest in public safety amid the commotion of this daylong incident and its aftermath,” Rudolph said.

Rudolph reports the most severe damage was seen in the towns of Attica, Bennington, Covington, Java, Orangeville, Sheldon, and Wethersfield, and the Village of Attica. Some businesses and residents in those areas were without power until Monday. At the peak of the storm, more than 8,000 customers were without power in the county. 

While no injuries were reported related to the storm, four tractor-trailers blew over from the force of the wind, along with countless trees and approximately 50 utility poles throughout the county.

Law enforcement fielded 95 calls, with deputies responding to 52 calls for service and the village departments handling 43. The Attica Fire Department covered 12 of the 37 calls that came into the county’s fire departments. Additionally, Varysburg Fire Department was the site of the emergency shelter put in place from the evening of March 9 through the morning of March 11.

Members of the Bennington and Cowlesville fire companies, and the Pavilion Fire Department opened and manned their halls for afternoon and evening hours to use as warming shelters throughout the ordeal.

Finally, the county and town highway departments spent countless hours cutting and clearing tree debris from obstructed roadways.

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