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Center for Emergency Services opens

August 27, 2010|By DANA BROWN
  • Andy Cramer, a telecommunicator for the Franklin County Center for Emergency Services, takes a 911 call Friday.
Photo by Dana Brown,

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Franklin County's new Center for Emergency Services was officially commissioned and open for the public to tour Friday.

The new facility, in the Letterkenny Industrial Area, provides more than 12,000 square feet of space and houses the Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Operations Center and the Communications Center, serving all of Franklin County.

Department of Emergency Services Director Dave Donohue said the $7 million facility provides space for staff and technology, and allows for future growth of the department.

"I expect this to be a 25-year facility," Donohue said.

Donohue said the addition of the Emergency Operations Center provides for round-the-clock operations for disaster management. He said the operations center provides a central location for multiple disciplines to work together to respond to disasters and prepare for the days and weeks following a disaster.

Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas said the facility was designed to handle future growth within the county and the increasing number of emergency service calls coming in to the center.

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Since January, the center has handled more than 40,000 incident calls, Thomas said.

"That is a pretty significant number," he said.

Telecommunicator Andy Cramer said the updated technology has improved his ability to provide quick, accurate and effective information.

"We're able to do our job a lot quicker," Cramer said.

Operations and Training Officer Craig Myers said the new building was needed.

For more than 20 years, the county's 911 emergency communications center and emergency operations center operated from the basement of the county courthouse in Chambersburg.

"With the upgrade of this building and the new technology, we're able to provide a better service," Myers said. "We were doing good with 3,500 square feet in the basement of the courthouse with five dispatchers, but with the expansion we've added another dispatcher and have been able to improve the quality of service to the community."

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