Second communication system aids Wood County during 911 outage

  • Source: WSAW-TV CBS 7 Wausau
  • Published: 08/08/2016 11:50 AM

VIDEO: When the 911 system failed Sunday, Wood County authorities turned to other platforms to keep the public informed. Todd Eckes is the Wisconsin Rapids Captain of Operations Fire Marshall, and he said when situations like what happened over the weekend occur, he turns to a messaging systems called, Nixle to keep the public informed. Nixle is is a web service that allows users to select a county or city they'd like to receive messages from. Typically, the hosts are county sheriff's departments or city fire department that can send messages by text or email about notices or emergencies. "The one [alert message] that was released this weekend gave them alternative numbers for surrounding counties so they could call [911] if they had an emergency and they would dispatch from those surrounding counties,” explained Eckes of how Nixle was used Sunday. Social Media was also a large help in getting the message out to the community Sunday night. Wood County Dispatch Manager Lori Heideman said that her crew was already taking to social media to get the message of the outage out, before she had even arrived. "They called the news stations, they had sent out a nixle message, and they had updated facebook." said Heideman. Their back-up plan took place within minutes of consulting, and ended with calling Adams and Portage counties to see if they'd be willing to take the Wood County 911 calls during the outage time. A back-up power system failure was to blame for the 911 outage. Outages were reported around 6:15 p.m. and were repaired about 45 minutes later.


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