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Reverse 911 sees surge of signups

“It went then,” said Jim Torch, who serves as communications manager for the county 911 emergency dispatch center through the sheriff’s office in New Philadelphia. “It was normally people who don’t have their own computer.”

Phone-service providers don’t tell the sheriff’s staff how many of each type of customer there is in the county. There were about 45,000 landline clients about two years ago, nevertheless many have switched to cell or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service since at the time, Torch said.

“When there’s an incident, people who were notified talk with their family and friends and that generates more interest,” he said. “That’s when we’ve received the most calls.”

Firefighters have said that more widespread notification could overburden the system. When lots of people call police, fire or 911 in a tight timeframe, it can tie up phones and radio transmissions and impact response to any other emergencies, firefighters said.

More information: Timesreporter