Hang Ups Cost Roanoke E-911 Emergency Dispatchers Valuable Time - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Hang Ups Cost Roanoke E-911 Emergency Dispatchers Valuable Time During Storm

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Roanoke City E-911 managers are reminding people they can go to the city's website or sign up for the city's email alerts after they were inundated with calls on Wednesday during the flash flood that hit parts of the city's northwest section.

City neighbors can sign up for email at the city's website, www.roanokeva.gov.

E-911 managers said some people tied up lines during the flood by calling for such reasons as asking for directions around flooded areas.

Some people would also call, let the phone ring a few times, then hang up thinking it wouldn't be answered.

Roanoke City E-911 training officer Melissa Page said to let the phone ring when you call in.  She said the call would eventually be answered.

Page said emergency dispatchers have no way of knowing when a caller hangs up, costing valuable time to answer a line with nobody on the other end of it.

Emergency dispatchers call back people who have hung up.

Transcripts of a few of the calls the Roanoke city emergency dispatch had yesterday during the flood are below:

#1
Dispatcher: "Is it a red car, ma'am? Because I got a report it was a red car that was flooded."
Caller: "Yes, ma'am."
Dispatcher: "Is that the car?"
Caller: "Yes, ma'am."
Dispatcher: "Okay. So that is the car. Do we know if anybody is in that car, ma'am?"
Caller: "Nobody ever got out. I [saw] this person trying to drive up but she never got out."

#2
Caller: "There is bad flooding and rushing water on Prillaman Avenue. There's cars stuck in the water."
Dispatcher: "Prillaman? Where?"
Caller: "Northwest."

#3
Caller: "An elderly woman that drove through Hershberger and Ferncliff and her car is stuck in the middle of the road."
Dispatcher: "Okay."
Caller: "And she's in it."
Dispatcher: "Alright. Is she stuck in the flood waters, sir?"
Caller: "She's stuck in flood water, yes, ma'am."

#4
Caller: "Yeah. Y'all might want to get an officer up here to the corner of Hershberger and Cove and direct traffic because I'm telling you it is one big mess. There's no light up here in either direction."

#5
Caller: "There are cars floating. There are people in trouble out here."
Dispatcher: "Okay. They're floating in the parking lot. B-dubs. Old Navy. I know what you're talking about. Have they been hitting each other?"
Caller: "No. They've not been hitting each other. But I'm talking about cars with water up past their headlights and I saw a little kid and a mom out walking. They abandoned their vehicle."