911 dispatchers pulling double duty, this week - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

911 dispatchers pulling double duty, this week

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This weather, that has surely caused havoc around Minnehaha County, has left some forced to call 911 for help.

On the other end of that phone call are some of the busiest workers in the county, this week.

Dispatchers with Metro Communications have been pulling double-duty, bringing in just under twice the amount of employees than a normal day.

But with a record amount of calls coming in from people around the country, that extra help is vital to keep safety operations running smooth.

Dispatcher: "911 where is your emergency?"

It's the other side of that phone calls we don't often get to see.

"Responding for a branch coming down on a power line in the backyard, it is sparking."

And the side that, this week, Mother Nature has kept extra busy.

Dispatcher: "(Reporting party) is advising it's close to the building, it is sparking at this time."

"Very significant event for us. Obviously we've brought in extra staff to make all the calls we need to make, dispatch units whether it's police fire or ambulance," Metro Communications Director Daren Ketchman said.

Behind close doors, it's quite the operation, with each person there to handle any of the calls that come in.

With the weather this severe, Metro gets extra help sorting through just the fire calls with a Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Betallion Chief.

"He looks at the resources in the city, increase the respond if that's the most effective solution. He may scale back, instead of sending 4 trucks, he'll send two trucks. So the other units are able to respond to other events in the city," Ketcham said.

Dispatcher: "Still alarm for Tender 10, 2304 W 18th Street for power lines."

Of course, it's not always the weather... it's still 'business as usual' with calls from medical emergencies...

Dispatcher: "You said it's a white husky?"

...to lost dogs.

"I've been here 11 years and it's the busiest I've seen," Dispatcher Bob Di Mercurio said.

Despite the added stress, these dispatchers love what they do, helping callers in their own community.

"We understand what they're going through because our homes are affected like anyone else's. We take one call at a time and provide the best services that we can," Ketcham said.

On Tuesday alone, Metro Communications had roughly 2,300 calls whereas, on a normal day, dispatchers will see between 600 and 700, at the most.

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