9-1-1 Center Backup

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

The fury unleashed by Hurricane Sandy has damaged places up and down the eastern seaboard.

And the storm has not discriminated; hospitals, historic buildings and private homes have all been destroyed.

It is that kind of force that has officials here working together to back up our 9-1-1 capabilities.

Hurricane Sandy is just the latest storm to remind us of the power in nature. It was a quieter natural disaster that had Pottawattamie County Officials concerned last year.

The Missouri River flood saturated the ground and the county's high-tech 9-1-1 center was in jeopardy.

If that or any disaster would take out a Metro 9-1-1 Center there is now a backup.

Mark Conrey says, "The calls could then be re-routed to us or to Sarpy County and we could answer the calls while they're trying to relocate."

The new location is actually the old Douglas County 9-1-1 center in city hall.

All utilities and systems have been updated; the place is wired and almost ready if Pottawattamie, Douglas or Sarpy County 9-1-1 systems should fail.

A unique cost sharing schedule was worked out to make the backup possible.

Mike Boyle says, "It comes down to using some of Pottawattamie County's bond money that they have available to put some equipment into this basement and then there is an agreement on the rent that we've made toward Pottawattamie County that makes them come out really well."

The agreement provides a backup 9-1-1 center to three counties for less than they could do it themselves.

Mark Conrey says, "There is always the threat of a tornado but the real threat has to do with equipment outages and power outages and so on and so forth."

If that happens the people in that county would still have emergency service.

The financial breakdown is as follows; Pottawattamie County will spend roughly $650,000 up front but will pay no maintenance costs for ten years.

Douglas County has paid for approximately $350,000 worth of improvements to the 9-1-1 portion of the basement.

Sarpy County will pay $90,000 up front and share in the maintenance costs.

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