Expanding Emergency Operations in Waukesha County to Better Protect You

The place in Waukesha County that answers your 911 call is about to get bigger. It means faster response to a big emergency. An example of that is the June, 2010 tornado that tore apart the small Waukesha County community of Eagle. Homes, and lives, were damaged by the EF-2 storm. In a disaster like that, a small, all-purpose room becomes the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

"Anytime you have the ability to sit down at a desk and hit a power button and your phone's ringing to you, is obviously the preferred scenario," said Gary Bell, Director of Emergency Preparedness for Waukesha County.

The way it is now, phone lines have to be re-routed and desks have to be re-arranged, all done by people who have other jobs.

"It is gonna take half an hour to get to that point based on the way the deployment of the equipment needs to come out," Bell added.

But with the new addition, the EOC can get up and running in seconds instead of minutes. Not only that, there will be extra work stations for additional dispatchers.

"We needed the facilities to provide the services we can to keep the county safe," said Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow.

The Waukesha County dispatch center also has work spaces for Milwaukee County, since it's their primary back-up. In 2013, a fire, and water, damaged the Milwaukee County Courthouse and left their 911 call center unusable. Dispatchers had to work out of Waukesha County for 19-days. So between that and because the county is growing in a hurry, the 2004 built building has to grow, too.

"It is going to provide us quicker response times and quicker abilities to coordinate with all different facets," Farrow added.

The hope is to have construction begin by March or April and have a ribbon cutting in December.

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