VIRGINIA

911 centers double staffing for Sandy

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In the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, local 911 centers are making sure they are prepared, especially following problems across the region after the summer derecho.

The Arlington County Emergency Communications Center is doubling its staffing for the expected spike in calls.

Emergency Communications Technician Alex Soulos said, "Everyone is probably on their A-game...You pretty much just try and get the information as quickly as possible."

But wild weather can sometimes put a hurdle in that information-gathering.

During the June derecho, 911 service was disrupted across northern Virginia for days when Verizon's backup power sources failed.

Alexis Freeman, an emergency communications technician, added, "It was a little wild, but we did the best we could."

John Crawford is the commanding officer at the center and says in his 40 years of public safety, it was a first.

Steps are being taken so Sandy doesn't cause a service disruption.

"We have been in contact with Verizon," Crawford explained. "At this stage in the game, there's not another thing that we could possibly do to prepare ourselves."

Should the power cut out and the backup generators fail, everyone would move to a backup 911 center located nearby.

Most emergency centers have a similar backup plan.

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