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Pittsylvania County declares emergency, 911 center preparing for big number of calls

By Justin Ward, jward@wdbj7.com
Published On: Feb 12 2014 08:25:00 PM EST
PITTSYLVANIA CO., Va. -

Emergency workers in Pittsylvania County say they are prepared to handle calls in the snow.

Pittsylvania County has declared an emergency for the county.

That means the emergency management department can use funding for response equipment or manpower without the approval of the board of supervisors.

"It also lets the citizens know that their county government is fully aware of the storm situation or the emergency that is coming or is happening. We take it serious. We have plans in place," said Jim Davis, the coordinator of emergency management in Pittsylvania County.

This also allows the county to get reimbursements from the state.

Pittsylvania County also called for backup from the National Guard. Large trucks that can handle driving in major snow storms are stationed tonight at fire stations in Brosville, Ringgold, Chatham, and in the northern part of the county.

In the next room over from where the decision was made to declare an emergency, the 911 dispatch center staff is working double-time, has staff on standby, and is using all lines of communication to help in your emergency.

The staff at the dispatch center is prepared for a long night. There are usually four people working in this room on a typical day. Today there are five people using multiple phone lines.

Pittsylvania County is the largest county in Virginia, and leaders say they have a plan in place.

"Through this main storm event I feel very confident we will have all the seats filled that we can but with the same token I suspect we're going to be inundated with phone calls," Davis said.

With this heavy snowfall the response time for emergency crews may take longer because of backed up traffic or slick roads.

Jim Davis wants to remind folks, only call 911 if there is a true emergency. Remember be patient because, as he just said, they're expecting lots of calls.