Emergency services ready with shelter if needed

Feb. 13, 2014 @ 06:15 PM

Despite scattered power outages, Emergency Services officials said they didn’t plan to open a shelter — yet.

Director Brian Short said Thursday afternoon though at one point more than 1,000 people had been without power, Duke Energy crews had been working through them fairly quickly. By 2 p.m. Thursday, he said about 700 residents were still affected.

Even so, Short said with more snow and ice in the forecast, he and his team were monitoring the situation carefully and would open the shelter if it became necessary.

“We remain poised to do that,” he said. “We’re leaving our assets pre-deployed, sitting right where they are until it’s over with.”

Despite receiving some 6 inches of snow in the Tri-County area — which slowed travel on Interstate 85 on Wednesday and even stopped it completely in Granville County around Falls Lake for several hours — the 911 center hadn’t received an inordinate amount of calls in the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) from people seeking help.

“The most calls I’ve seen was 21 calls active at a time in CAD,” he said. “We would consider that to be noticeably busy. But ever since then, things are pretty moderate.”

Most people seemed to be caught off-guard with how abruptly the snow started falling and how quickly it stuck to the ground. Short said their highest call volume for car accidents was when it first started, but even those only had property damage and minor injuries.

Throughout the storm, Emergency Services has been coordinating the response on the group with police, firefighters and EMS. Short said it’s been a balancing act between protecting the public and keeping responders safe.

As a result, he’s been trying to keep public safety personnel within their districts to lessen both their travel time and response time to get to area residents who need help.

Despite the weather, Short said it’s been pretty much business as usual.

“You call 911, and help comes,” he said. “To my knowledge, we’ve not had a situation that someone has called, and we’ve not been able to respond to.”

Contact the writer at vshortley@hendersondispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter at @herding_stets.