ALTOONA, Pa (WTAJ)– The Blair County 911 dispatch center celebrated 25 years of service Tuesday afternoon by showcasing their new communications room.
The center began operations on January 2, 1997, at the same location on Fourth Ave. The center continuously improved to better services Blair County residents through the years.
The upgrade to the room cost one million dollars, aiming to keep up with the constant technology advancement. Blair County EMA Director Mark Taylor said that the improvement comes through multiple forms of communication, including phone, radio, computer-aided dispatch, and geographical systems.
“We’re located right here in Downtown Altoona, so we have to make sure we got our security stuff in place,” Taylor said. “But everything we build into this system is going to hold us off for years. We’re still going to have changes to make, but we’re able to keep up with them.”
Blair County 911 comprises one manager, three supervisors, and 32 telecommunicators. They handled all calls from Blair County and served as a backup to Bedford and Huntingdon counties.
Additionally, they dedicated the room to their late employee Carla Dosh, who worked as a dispatcher for 22 years. Taylor described Dosh as a hard worker devoted to her job of saving lives and constantly adapting to the new technology.
“She was an honor to work with; I have never seen anyone so driven in my life,” Taylor said. “The compassion for serving others through 911 and taking care of the people in this room and of course the fire, ems answering the calls. That was her life.”
In 2021, the center serviced 87,671 calls.