Emergency Management addresses 911 outage, siren issues

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RANDOLPH, Kan. – Last Friday’s 911 outage that affected parts of northern Riley County was the focal point of Thursday’s county commission meeting at City Hall.

This was only a land-line issue for Twin Valley Telephone users. The problem was corrected a few hours after the outage was discovered; however,  no one was promptly told when the issue had been resolved.

“We weren’t notified when it went back up,” Emergency Management Director Pat Collins said. “That caused some confusion. The outage happened on Friday and we didn’t find out until Monday that it was back up.”

After last Friday’s episode, the Emergency Management Department is adjusting protocol to prepare for another such outage.

“We’re updating our plan which encompasses all of the different ways that 911 may go down or we may lose our phone system,” Collins said.

The updated plan will focus largely on educating citizens of Riley County.

“If you pick your phone up and it doesn’t work, then you need to expect that 911 isn’t working,” “You need to know where your local emergency services are and how to contact emergency services if your phone doesn’t work or if 911 doesn’t work.”

Collins also suggested that citizens examine the county’s Immediate Response Information System service, which can send out pertinent emergency information via text message, E-mail, or phone call.

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A recent discovery by the Emergency Management Department revealed that three tornado sirens failed to work during a round of storms that hit the area in mid-April.

The sirens have since been fixed, but Collins admits it wasn’t the quickest process.

“Some of the sirens are really old,” Collins said. “We bought them as surplus property and we’ve only got one vendor in the area that can actually repair those (sirens).”

Siren issues are infrequent according to Collins, who added that he does not expect any further problems in the short-term.

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The Riley County Commission learned that it will have to wait a few extra weeks before it receives the Kansas Attorney General’s opinion on the renewal of the county’s half cent sales tax.

The work is now being handled by the assistant Attorney General.

“It’s going to be circulated within that office,” County Counselor Clancy Holeman said. “They’re predicting one to two weeks after that is when an opinion might be generated.”

Holeman is tentatively expecting to receive a response by June 1.

The sales tax question is expected to go back before the voters during Fall 2012 elections.

 

 

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