Fri08222014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

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911 system problems resolved

Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Gutridge reported that a problem in the 911 emergency communication system occurred on Friday at noon.  Emergency 911 calls for fire and/or rescue in Oak Grove and Colonial Beach were being properly received or “toned,” but the system that alerts individual volunteer responders was not working properly.  Gutridge was able to use a text messaging system and an alternative radio channel to alert responders to report to the station.  

As of 9 p.m. Sunday night, Gutridge reported, the system was fully operational.

Westmoreland County Administrator Norm Risavi reported that the county was able to procure and place a temporary 911 communications tower in Colonial Beach on Saturday from Fairfax County.   Risavi reports that the county had contacted the contractor for the Motorola

System on Friday and they have been busy checking the simulcast system on all three of the main towers used for emergency communications.

“We have not missed a beat,” Risavi said. “There has been no loss of communication.”

“Part of our task is to overcome obstacles as fast as you can,” noted Gutridge, who credits “a really good group of dispatchers and the county administration for working hand-in-hand to solve the problem.”

In 2000 the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors decided to change the system for emergency communications from T-1 lines to a microwave system, which would use digital technology rather than analog technology, as there had been many problems and complaints about the analog technology.

At that time, local fire departments and rescue squads requested the Board of Supervisors keep an analog system for fire and rescue. The Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Department and Colonial Beach Police Department both use digital technology. 

Kathy Flanagan

 

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