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On Sunday September 14th 2008, an epic storm struck Hamilton County, Ohio. First shift communication officers and supervisors began making their way into the radio room. While many heard the news of the devastation that Hurricane Ike would leave behind in the Gulf States, few knew that the remnants of this storm would combine with an upper level low pressure system and create a "perfect storm" right over the tri-state. As the morning turned to afternoon, local weather authorities were reporting the possibility of severe weather during the afternoon hours. Shortly thereafter, a wind advisory was issued for the county. Forecasters advised that the center of the low was to pass to our west, meaning we could expect winds at 20-30 mph with gusts near 40 mph.
This was a typical scene across the county, causing hazards to both citizens and first responders.
Around noon and before the storm made it to the area, supervisors at the communication center prepared a callout list in the event the storm predictions became reality. Around 1pm, the winds picked up and this preparation would prove crucial. In just 30 minutes, calls into the communication center would double. Additional support from off-duty personnel as well as members of second shift would soon arrive at the communication center. Members of first shift would stay to help as well. Trees started falling on electrical lines, homes, vehicles and roadways, causing fires, alarm drops, property damage, and personal injuries. Four lives were lost as a result of falling trees and debris. According to Dan Hawblitzel with the National Weather Service, "wind gusts at the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport reached 74 mph and were sustained between 40-50 mph throughout the afternoon. Hawblitzel states the winds indeed reached hurricane strength at times although were not sustained. The impact of this storm would affect the lives of millions.
To understand the magnitude of this windstorm, allow us to briefly look at some of the numbers from this storm, as they directly relate to this communication center. The average number of calls a day for the communication center is 1,500. The total number of calls for service this day was 5,627. Of these, 3,530 were requests for the police; 1,235 were for the fire department while 850 were miscellaneous requests for Duke, Cincinnati Bell, and Engineers etc. The remaining 12 calls were for the SPCA. We will detail these numbers more specifically in several charts and graphs, in the following pages.
Because of the preparation that is applied to the daily operation of the Hamilton County Communication Center, and the dedication of its communication officers and supervisors, your 9-1-1 center handled this storm of historic proportion extremely well with little degradation in care or service. The communication center is staffed with highly trained personnel who stand ready to cope with major events as well as every-day emergencies. We expect the unexpected.
The Hamilton County Communications Center was well trained to handle this once in a lifetime storm!
To get a better perspective of how busy the communication center was on this day, we look at other numbers for the entire month, compared to the historic Sunday.
The Hamilton County Communication knows that "Seconds Count", so we take great pride in providing the citizens of Hamilton County with the best emergency services communication. We hope you will never need to call us, but if you do, know the "Big Team" is here to guide you through any emergency you may have.
Copyright 2014. Hamilton County Ohio. 138 E. Court Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202.
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