Centre 9-1-1 sees shortage of operators, high calls during Wednesday weather

Local News

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Centre County 9-1-1 received 565 calls in four hours during Wednesday’s thunderstorms. Dispatchers were answering just over two calls per minute, all while facing an employee shortage.

“9-1-1 is suffering manpower problems across the state and across the nation,” said Norm Spackman II, director of Centre County 9-1-1. “Seems like less people are less interested in working in 9-1-1 centers.”

He said their work is essential, and it takes brave, level-headed individuals.

“We need a strong minded person that can deal with critical incidents, life and death, and can move onto the next one and not let it bother them,” said Spackman.

Centre County 9-1-1 is looking to hire four employees, and Spackman said they’re operating with 11 out of 18 positions filled.

Wednesday night’s heavy influx of calls due to weather, proved a full staff is needed.

“It’s very difficult to manage all that activity, plus make outgoing phone calls to power companies, telephone companies,” said Spackman.

Typically, there’s a team of five in the dispatch room, including a supervisor and four operators communicating with the police and fire departments.

If you’re interested in applying for a position, further information can be found HERE.

Spackman said, even with high call rates, you shouldn’t hesitate to call 9-1-1 or the non-emergency line, (800) 479-0050, if you’re in need of special assistance.

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