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Wetzel County E-911, OEM Are Prepared

January 9, 2019
BY ED PARSONS - STAFF WRITER (EPARSONS@TYLERSTARNEWS.COM) , Wetzel Chronicle

On a recent visit to the Wetzel County site, E-911 and Office of Emergency Management Director Steve Yoho gave the Wetzel Chronicle a detailed visual tour of the facilities and a wealth of information concerning how 911 and OEM operate.

Director Yoho and Deputy Director Gary L. Glasscock II, each with more than 1,300 hours of training, manage the facility. Together, with the full support of the county commissioners and 911 employees, they operate a valuable asset for Wetzel County.

Yoho and Glasscock are members of the State E-911 Council and the State Emergency Management Council. While explaining the capabilities and operation of the facilities, Yoho explained how the Public Safety Answering Point, or 911 Center, is the first communication center to answer a 911 call. The 911 center is staffed with Certified Professional Telecommunicators and is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. The telecommunicators are certified by the Association of Public Safety Communication Officials (APCO), which is a worldwide association.

Article Photos

Pictured is some of the technology available at the Wetzel County E-911/OEM
facility.

Their certification course consist of three months of hands-on call taking (totaling 500 hours), a 54-hour telecommunicator course, eight hours of First Aid and CPR, 32 hours of emergency medical dispatch, 16 hours of law enforcement dispatch, and 16 hours of fire dispatch. Also required is 40 hours of West Virginia State Police Academy weapons training and, for supervisors only, 24 hours of supervisor training - for a total of 667 total hours of training.

The equipment at the OEM center can be described as "state-of-the-art." The center is fully equipped to provide assistance to any local agency in need. On site, there are several trailers - fully equipped with everything needed if a disaster were to happen. There are emergency generators, which could be used to operate the hospital in case of loss of power. Also available is first aid equipment, cots, temporary shelters, blankets, water, communication devices, a four wheeler, trucks, and more. The communication tower at the facility is impressive, to say the least.

"We are busy. Our oil and gas task force conducts meetings with the producers, and we address well-site locations for emergency response, and keep records of chemicals on site," stated Yoho. Other activity of the task force includes tracking well flaring and planned gas releases, tracking rig moves or fracking activity, tracking pipeline activity and access roads for emergency response, and working with the producers to pre-plan emergency response.

When calls come into the 911 center on landline every number received has a Automatic Number Identification and an Automatic Location Number. Yoho explained that if a call came in from his home, it would show his home phone number, his address, his name, and his location. It also shows the time of the call. ANI and ALI also show up a visual map, which pinpoints the location of the caller. The center uses the Zetron Phone System, which has 4911 lines and four administrative lines. It is connected to Wetzel County Hospital's emergency line.

The system has three-way calling, and one button transfers that holds over 1,000 numbers. It is TTD (used to communicate with the hearing or speech impaired), and has language translation services. The Zetron phone system has the capability to call anyone with the click of the mouse. It also records all incoming and outgoing calls 24 hours a day, everyday of the year. The system prints out the time the called is received and the time it's on hold.

When it comes to wireless phone calls, the center's cell tower is used for wireless calls, which allows the center to pinpoint GPS location by plotting a point, where the phone is located - within 15 to 20 yards, on their map. It can trace an open cell call every 20 seconds and get a moving cell phone location. It will then plot a point on the center's map, showing the phones updated location. This system works the same for disconnected or non-working cell phones minus the call back number.

In the Zetron Radio System and Towers, Zetron controls five local towers for 911. These towers include the center's 911 tower at the facility in Steelton, the Duffy tower, the Barker tower, the Hundred tower, and the Folsom Fire tower. The radio system is connected to the Wetzel County Sheriff's Office, Paden City Police Department, Emergency Medical Services, county fire departments, Wetzel County Office of Emergency Management, and the Wetzel County Schools' emergency channel. All of the frequencies are recorded 24-7/365.

The Zetron Radio System is part of the West Virginia SIRN System. Every 911 center in the state has its own channel. If the local center needs something from that county, it is able to turn to the applicable channel and speak to personnel directly. The Wetzel County 911 system has two channels on at all times: one to contact other agencies and one to contact Wetzel. Both channels are monitored in Charleston.

Mapping for the system is updated usually every two years. Mapping includes road and street names, new and old addresses , waterways, railroad layer with their mile markers, helipad landing zones, fire and EMS boundaries, and surrounding counties.

The 911 center has full access to registration checks, drivers licenses checks, boat registration, weather, criminal history's, AM messages, Orion files, Aircraft reg. and tracking, wanted /missing persons, stolen vehicles, stolen firearms, stolen articles, ICE, Canadian files and sexual offenders. The access also includes gang/terrorist information, identify theft, parole/protection, hazardous materials, protection orders, flying armed, bulk cash smuggling, NCIC, and more.

The 911 center has the capability to communicate with all the area fire departments and EMS facilities. The center can communicate directly with the Wetzel County Sheriff's Office, Paden City Police Department, Hundred PD, Pine Grove PD, WV DPS, WV DNR, Wetzel County Animal Control and Wetzel County OEM.

The facility in Steelton is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and every day of the year. The 911 office has a battery backup system good for two hours, as well as a diesel generator with a 500 gallon fuel tank. The towers are maintained by 911 and have a 72 hour battery backup and a propane standby generator.

The OEM is available for response to multiple incidents. They have the capability for hazardous material calls, well pad calls, floods, large school incidents, law enforcement assistance, chemical leaks, mass casualty incidents, large-scale fires, pipeline accidents, natural disasters, missing persons, industrial fires, large truck accidents, public safety threats, and any other incidents requested.

The OEM Mobile Command Center is equipped with office space, satellite phone, satellite secured internet, drone with camera, digital air monitoring, capable of monitoring up to two miles in one direction, or one half mile in all directions. The mobile unit is equipped to receive multiple radio frequencies and has a 30-foot tower with camera, UHF repeater, and multiple VHF handhelds. The mobile center is heated and has air conditioning. There is also an outside meeting area with a table and screen mapping.

The center's operations truck is a F-250 four-door with an eight foot bed. The truck is used for towing and hauling equipment. The center has two first response vehicles, staffed by the director and deputy director. One of the directors is available at all times. The response vehicles are equipped with communications equipment, personal protective clothing, GPS, and basic four gas analyzer.

Other equipment at the OEM center itself includes an ATV with a medical bed, a mass care trailer, telescope light tower, and a 32-foot camping trailer converted into a mobile office with radios. Other equipment includes trash pumps, tractor with a fork lift, water buffalo, large mobile generator, flat bed trailer, portable generators, flood kits, and radiation detection. Yoho also anticipates adding a rehab unit.

Other resources available to the OEM are multiple shelter agreements, with Wetzel County schools, for shelter and transportation. There are also community sirens available, and mutual aid agreements with other entities.

"As you can see, we have a wide range of resources and capabilities," said Yoho. He explained, "We can pull resources from Quad State Emergency Management. Those states include West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania. During an emergency or large scale incident, our operations center is staffed 24 hours a day, providing support to the public as well as the responders."

"Our emergency operations center is our primary point of contact for FEMA and the National Guard," Yoho said.

Wetzel County 911and OEM Director Steve Yoho can be reached by calling 304-455-6960.

 
 
 

 

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