Area dispatchers deploying to Florida for Irma relief

Area dispatchers deploying to Florida for Irma relief

September 18th, 2017 by Staff Report in Breaking News

Hamilton County 9-1-1 telecommunications officers prepare to deploy to Florida. Left to Right: Team Leader Sharon Barker, Erica Reid, Lewanna House, Adam Biggs, Patrick Austin, Jean Rogers.

Hamilton County 9-1-1 telecommunications officers prepare to deploy...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A group of Hamilton County 911 emergency dispatchers is deploying to Florida today in response to a request for mutual aid assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

On Monday, six dispatchers left Tennessee to provide manpower to Florida 911 centers handling the response in storm's wake, according to a news release from the Hamilton County Emergency Communications District.

The team will join six other dispatchers from Georgia; both groups will then integrate with Florida teams, which have been on the ground since day one.

The response is part of an initiative known as TERT (Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce), which was formally developed at the national level after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Its mission is to provide trained Dispatchers for mutual aid response in the aftermath of disasters, according to the news release.

TERT personnel must meet certain criteria, complete necessary training and be approved for deployment at several levels, the release states. Requests for TERT assistance are coordinated and authorized in roughly the same manner as any public safety resource request through State Emergency Operations Centers.

"It is important to note that deployed telecommunicators are not 'taking over,'" the release states, "but helping shoulder the burden of the local 911 centers who have been working nonstop since the time of impact even while their homes, families and friends may have been impacted by the disaster."

Hamilton County currently employs 30 dispatchers.