E-911 operators saluted for team effort after tornado

T-R FILE PHOTO Pictured is the west side of the RACOM Building immediately following the July 19 E-3 tornado. At bottom is a tipped-over Times-Republican trailer. E-911 Communication Operators used RACOM’s basement to keep 911 lines open. They were evacuated twice due to gas leaks in their usual post in the basement of the Marshalltown Police Department.

E-911 Communication operators were praised by members of the Marshall County Communications Commission for their diligence in keeping 911 lines open immediately following the devastating July 19, EF-3 tornado which pounded Marshalltown’s north side.

E-911 Manager Teresa Lang said on two occasions a gas leak forced operators to leave their usual post in the basement of the Marshalltown Police Department, 22 N. Center St. RACOM Co. several blocks away on State Street, welcomed the operators on duty and other operators who showed up unsolicited to help keep critical 911 lines open. All worked in RACOM’s basement with back-up equipment.

“I am proud of the operators for the commitment to public safety,” Lang said. “Not only the three operators on duty, but other operators who came in without being asked.”

Board members took turns congratulating the E-911 operators for a job well done.

In other action during the Thursday evening meeting held at the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, board members again heard from Lang concerning the transition of ambulance dispatch from UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown to E-911.

“The transition is going smoothly,” Lang said.

The first day was July 2. Lang said operators get 15 calls a day.

For nearly 50 years previously, hospital staff dispatched ambulances to Marshall County sites and elsewhere in the hospital service area. However UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown management told the E-911 Commission earlier this year they would discontinue that task July 1 due to expenses.

They also cited the E-911 system was in place to make such calls. E-911 operators learned the new skill and have adapted.

The MCCC board is made up of representatives from local elected officials in Marshalltown, State Center, Melbourne, Albion, Le Grand, Laurel, Gilman, Haverhill, Rhodes, Clemons, Ferguson, Liscomb and Saint Anthony. Other members are Marion Township, Marshall County Sheriff, Emergency Management Coordinator and Marshall County Board of Supervisors.

The next meeting of the MCCC Executive Committee will be 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17. Immediately following will be the regular MCCC board, both at the Third Floor Conference Room in the Administration Building of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office. For more information contact 641-754-4750 or visit marshalltown-ia-gov.


Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com