Dispatchers and first responders working long hours, answering record-breaking amount of calls on winter storm damage


North Texas dispatchers, first responders answering record-breaking amount of calls after winter storm

Julia Maschmann, a Wylie dispatcher, has slept four straight days at the office to deal with record-number calls and because she has no power or water at home.

WYLIE, Texas — The number of service calls in North Texas that first responders have gone on and dispatchers have received have far outpaced any other event in the last decade. 

It is no different in the Collin County City of Wylie. 

The number of calls processed on a normal day is about 200 calls. But this week, it’s up to 1,200 calls daily due to the snowstorm that took out power and water pipes, and even stranded people. 

“Every dispatcher hears everything. It usually gets replaced by something else crazy,” said Julia Maschmann, who has been a dispatcher for more than a decade.

Lately, Wylie and many other cities have seen a flood of calls about water leaks and pipes bursting. 

“These are water emergencies, water in houses, and flooding businesses because of damaged sprinkler systems,” said Wylie Fire Chief Brandon Blythe.

RELATED: How to thaw pipes, or what to do if it already burst

Blythe told WFAA that the city has also a received a number of calls about smoke detectors going off because of the rotating outages. 

It has been an all hands on deck situation. At Wylie’s Public Safety Building each city department is stationed in the emergency operations room. Calls from residents get routed to the appropriate department. 

Maschmann told WFAA that since Saturday, she has been staying in the city building. 

“For the last week, it’s been my office and sleeping quarters,” she laughed.

The reasons for staying at the office have to do with how busy they are, and because she also doesn’t have power or water at her home. Since Saturday, she has done her laundry in the jail, showered in the police department, and eaten in the communal kitchen. 

“You don’t leave your people, you help your people,” she said.

Maschmann is just one story. This can be repeated over and over of first responders throughout North Texas who are pulling double and triple-shifts and not taking days off. Especially, in a snowstorm that’s even affected them. Remember that when you ask for help.


Source link