Lightning Strikes 911 Center Twice in a Week
May 26, 2004, 10:13

Lightning struck the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center in Georgetown during a thunderstorm Tuesday, May 25 -- the second hit in just over a week for the 911 center.

Both times, 911 calls continued to be answered at the center, according to EOC spokesperson Debbie Jones.

The first strike came Monday, May 17 during an afternoon thunderstorm, Jones said. The center switched to its emergency generator immediately, and there was no power interruption.

On Tuesday, Jones said, the emergency generator "allowed us to go on that early enough that we were able to keep all our equipment up." Although Jones said there were "some equipment problems," -- mostly with phones, paging systems and computers -- after Tuesday's strike, "911 calls are still coming in."

Phone and communications system repair people responded to the center Tuesday night and were still at the center at about 10 a.m. Wednesday,   Jones said.

Some members of the 911 staff -- particularly communications support personnel -- were called in after Tuesday night's strike, she said.

In addition, fire chiefs throughout the county were asked to send one person to each fire house in case they had to sound a siren manually.

Jones said although it is early in the summer storm season, it's not too early to take precautions against power outtages and other storm-related problems. "In unstable weather, these storms can pop up anytime," she said.

She urged residents and visitors to be prepared for storms by keeping working flashlights and extra batteries as well as a portable weather radio on hand.

Jones also reminded everyone to be aware of ponding of water on roads -- do not try to cross an area with standing water on it. She also urged homeowners and visitors to secure lawn furniture and other items that could blow during a storm.

"Just be careful," Jones said.



© Copyright 2003 by