York Co. 911 paging system back up, fire chiefs express concerns

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SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Eleven days after the York County 911 Center's paging system outage, the system is now back up and running.

The center had its own emergency after its paging system went down for EMS responders and firefighters.

The GPS system required to fix the paging outage was installed, and York County 911 officials said they are back at 100 percent coverage.

York City Deputy Fire Chief Chad Deardorff said, "It's a relief. It's an issue. The issue happened. We needed to deal with the issue and resolve the issue first and foremost, and then the second part of this issue, phase 2 per se, is to make sure that it doesn't happen again."

Fire Chiefs expressed their concerns at a town hall-style meeting at the 911 center involving state lawmakers and county officials.

Some volunteer fire departments who relied on the system had to resort to radios in the meantime to listen to dispatchers.

Craley Fire Chief Jesse Frantz said, "You literally have to have a man in the station 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to listen to it. And this outage went on for almost 11 days, and as a volunteer fire department you can't do it."

Some chiefs expressed their concerns that there was no plan B after the system outage.

Eureka Volunteer Fire Chief Ira Walker said, "What just blows my mind is we had a complete failure of the paging system with nothing to back it up. Going forward I hope we will have a system."

But county officials said it's an issue with technology, and there's no 100 percent guarantee it won't happen again.

Frantz said for departments that rely on volunteers, the outage was an extremely stressful situation.

"The current system we have, we have our issues to begin with and this kind of finally I think put the topping on the cake. Hopefully something gets done to fix it," he said.

Mark Walters, the public information officer for the county, said he understands the fire chief's frustrations.

"Obviously inconvenient and unfortunate, but we've been able to get through it and that's a testament to crews and what they do," Walters said.

 

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