Tennessee dispatchers overwhelmed with 911 calls during flooding

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HUMPHREYS CO., Tenn. (WKRN) – Dispatchers in Humphreys County were overwhelmed with emergency calls during Saturday’s severe flooding.

The Humphreys County 911 Director told News 2 there were only two dispatchers on shift at the time. They work in 12-hour shifts and said it was difficult getting additional staff due to the rapid nature of the calls.

They estimated receiving at least 350 calls in regard to the flooding.

Many who called in were trapped by flood waters surrounding their homes. Dispatchers gathered addresses and provided callers with the best advice they could. Many times, this meant telling them to get to the highest point inside the residence and stay there.

In one call from just north of Waverly, a caller stated,” I have a neighbor who’s trapped in her trailer. The water is all around the edge of it, and it’s coming up. She can’t get out. It’s all flooded down there. We’re on the hill; we’re up above her. Down below, her car’s covered up; the water’s coming up in her trailer.”

The dispatcher then responded taking down the information and stating they had more than 20 active water rescues throughout the county at that time.

In another call from a Waverly resident, you can hear a caller and a dispatcher have the following conversation:

Caller: “We’re in the upstairs now.”

Dispatcher: “Please shelter in the highest point you can get to; we have crews trying to get to the area all over the city.”

Caller: “Okay thank you, God bless you.”

The Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office created several Facebook posts in an effort to aid in assistance. One in particular encouraged wreckers from out of town trying to help to call them directly at 931-296-7792.

Authorities encouraged folks to message them directly on Facebook to not overwhelm dispatch looking for a wrecker.

The sheriff believes there are hundreds of homes that have been impacted with some type of flood damage that people will not be able to stay in.

The American Red Cross has also set up a Flood in Tennessee online resource here, where flood survivors can register and let family and friends know they are safe.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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