Lauderdale County Awaits New Communication System

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

Lauderdale County's E911 system experienced some problems Monday after bad weather shut down its radio communications.

Dispatchers used cell phones and back-up radios to communicate with emergency responders.

E911 is trying to make some changes that would prevent this type of problem from happening again.

"We never like it when something goes wrong, especially in the emergency field we are in," said E911 director Jared Stanley.

During Monday night's stormy weather, the radio system experienced a surge most likely from lightning that knocked out dispatchers' ability to communicate.

"The first thing you start worrying about when the radios go down are our first responders," Stanley said. "We lose the normal way to communicate with officers, firefighters and medics out in the field so that is our first concern, is how are we going to reach them to see what's going on."

It could have been worse. The 911 lines, by which citizens call for help, were still functioning.

Dispatchers first used cell phones to communicate with emergency responders and then moved to hand held radios. No emergency calls were missed.

Emergency officials want to make sure they never lose communication with emergency responders again. Hopefully, they won't have to. The Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency is currently working on another communication system that would use the current system as a back up.

"The hard wire system is what went down," said LEMA director David Sharp. "What we will be putting down in the real near future is a wireless system that will be a redundant system, so it will have a back up built within the system."

This new communication system will be installed as soon as the parts arrive.

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