Rock County 911 Center prepared for influx of weather-related calls

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JANESVILLE (WKOW) — As freezing rain, sleet and snow began to fall in parts of Rock County, it didn’t take long for roads to deteriorate. Dispatchers are used to seeing an influx of calls when there’s dangerous traveling conditions and Tuesday night’s weather meant extra staff on duty at the Rock County Communications Center.

“It’s a lot worse and more treacherous than I thought it was going to be at first,”‘ said Mark Elland, a shift supervisor for the overnight squad at the dispatch center.

He kept a close eye on the radar and was most concerned about the overnight hours when Rock County could see more ice and sleet.

“It takes one accident on the interstate to generate sometimes 26 phone calls in about two minutes,” Elland said.

Every call must be picked up by the team of seven staff members on the evening shift and six staff members on the overnight shift.

However, due to the dangerous weather, Elland made the call to have a seventh person on the overnight shift in case things get bad.

“I have upped our minimum staffing for third shift after viewing the future radar predictions because it looks like we’re going to get hit really hard tonight,” said Elland.

As of 10:40 p.m. on Tuesday, Elland said there were three weather-related accidents in Rock County. Two were slide-offs and the third accident was a three-car crash. No injuries were reported in any of the emergencies.

The team of call-takers and dispatchers are prepared for a busy night, if people don’t heed the warnings.

If you get in an accident on the road, dispatchers do have a request for your own safety.

“They [need to] stay in their car with their seatbelt on even if they’re in an accident,” Elland said. “Because another car could slide and if they’re out walking around, they’re not as protected as they are inside their car.”

If you do travel during the slick conditions, Elland asks that you go slow and give yourself enough time and space when coming to a stop.

Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz

Reporter, WKOW

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