by Julie Ann Madden
When a Union County resident dials 9-1-1, the emergency call may not be answered by dispatchers at the Union County Communications Center.
Especially if the caller is using a cellular phone and making the call from the West Akron and West Hawarden, S.D., areas, said Union County Sheriff Dan Limoges.
“Cell phone calls could possibly be routed to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) other than our Union County Communications Center,” he said. “Calls from rural South Dakota addresses such as Akron, Alcester, Elk Point, and Hawarden, may go to Iowa communications centers in Plymouth or Sioux counties. It just depends on what cell phone tower the signal bounces off of.”
If the emergency call is routed to the Union County Communications Center, the dispatchers’ computer system provides the location of the call and which emergency responders are responsible for that area. However, if it is routed elsewhere, the computer system will not pick up the location of the call nor which emergency responders handle calls in that area.
“We encourage those using a cell phone to call for help to tell the dispatcher their name, location and what fire/ambulance district they are in so that the correct emergency services can be notified immediately,” said Limoges. “The dispatchers can expedite the call which means those in need receive help faster.”
Limoges encourages those who live in the West Akron and West Hawarden areas to place a test 9-1-1 call, then residents will know which communications center answers their residential emergency calls. To make the test, call the Union County Sheriff’s Office at 605-356-2679 first.
For more information, contact the Sheriff’s Office.