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Berkeley Co. 911 center up and running

September 12, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - With features like motorized work stations that allow workers to stand or sit and nearly double the work space, Berkeley County officials introduced the community Monday to its new 911 center.

The bigger, more sophisticated 911 center comes after officials noticed about a 25 percent increase in call volume over about the last five years.

"Our workload has just increased so dramatically," 911 Central Dispatch Director Mary Kackley said during an open house.

An expansion of the 911 center, which cost about $500,000, gives the center four additional work consoles, allowing it to have about eight work stations, Kackley said.

Each work station has five computer screens and dispatchers work at motorized stations that can be moved up or down depending on whether the dispatchers want to stand or sit, Kackley said.

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The center's renovations and equipment upgrades were timed to coincide with the purchase of a $2.5 million integrated radio system that will link all of the county's and city of Martinsburg's emergency responders.

Before the new system came on line, it was not unusual for some fire crews to be unable to talk with the 911 center outside their fire stations, said state Emergency Medical Service Director Bill Ramsey, who was at Monday afternoon's open house for the 911 center along South Queen Street.

The new digital radio system gives county authorities the capability to communicate with counterparts as far away as Morgantown, W.Va., or Charleston, W.Va., Ramsey said.

The open house included a ribbon cutting ceremony.

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