Chilton County 911 call volume spikes during winter storm

Published 10:57 am Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chilton County’s 911 service processed almost 2,000 calls from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, with 97 calls being because of motor vehicle accidents, apparently related to the winter storm.

Chilton County E-911 Director Dan Wright said the service typically processes 1,044 calls during an average 24-hour period. During the 12-hour period on Tuesday, 1,838 calls were processed.

The service doubled its staff during the peak time, and dispatchers stayed overnight at the 911 office, located on the bottom floor of the Chilton County Courthouse.

“Nobody can get home, so we’re just making the best of the situation,” Wright said and added that while 911 calls have slowed somewhat, they’re still above normal, as of Wednesday morning. “We’re still pretty steady.”

To make matters worse, apparently vandalized phone equipment in Calera led to compromised service for many cellular customers in Chilton County.

Wright said 911 dispatchers were unable to use their agency-issued cell phones to process calls, when all consoles were full.

Wright said his agency was notified about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday that phone service was back on-line.

Wright said officials are still encouraging residents to not attempt to drive.

“I’m not saying we won’t rescue you, but we have to prioritize, and rescuing people who have chosen to drive when they knew better has to be low on our priority list,” he said. “Everybody is stretched pretty thin. We’re just doing the best we can.”