TOWANDA, Pa. -- For dispatchers at the Bradford County Communications Center, every phone presents a new challenge.
Handling emergencies is something that comes with the job. But a lack of dispatchers available to answer the calls has taken an unexpected twist.
“We lost half our staff to the gas industry. We have been running low on a manpower shortage for the last eight years,” said Robert Repasky, 911 Director.
At the Bradford County Communications Center, dispatchers are already working 12 hours and now overtime to help cover shifts.
Repasky says there needs to be at least two dispatchers on hand daily.
From flooded roads, fires and prank calls, these dispatchers must handle every incoming call with care.
“We got hit really hard a couple of weeks ago. We had four dispatchers on and it was a struggle but we did,” said Repasky.
Firefighters at the Towanda Fire Department say 911 dispatchers are the bridge between helping people deal with an emergency and first responders handling the situation.
As chief of the Towanda Fire Company, Bill Roof says his group of firefighters wouldn't have been able to do their job in last month's flooding without the help of emergency dispatchers.
“We are so busy with multiple departments and they let us know where we need to be, the location like I said we could not do our job without them,” said Chief Roof.
“I am hoping we get more staff. We really need more staff as it a unique person to keep up with everything,” added Repasky.