Emergency calls in Carbon Co. were rerouted to neighboring Monroe Co. after a downed tree cut off all phone lines to the county 911 center in Nesquehoning.
As crews raced to the scene of a dead boater at Beltzville Lake Wednesday morning, 911 calls poured in -- not to the Carbon Co. Communications Center, but to dispatchers 30 miles away in Stroudsburg.
"Monroe County is taking our phone calls," said Carbon Co. 911 Director Gary Williams.
"Other people are taking the calls and passing them on to us," said 911 operator Jamie Blisard.
As traffic inched along on Route 209, Verizon crews scrambled to repair three fiber optic lines damaged after a tree brought down a power line. That line caught fire and burned through three fiber optic cables.
Inside the 911 center, dispatchers quickly created a work-around.
"The residents of Carbon are taken care of," said Williams. "No lack of service."
Emergency calls were re-routed to Monroe Co., where dispatchers there relayed the information back to Carbon Co. by a radio link.
"The 911 calls are still getting answered," said Blisard.
Workers in Carbon County then radio the calls to emergency crews.
"We also have a laptop up there with our CAD -- our Computer Aided Dispatch," said Williams. "Dispatchers are entering the incident into that computer."
It's a small extra step to make sure calls get answered when seconds count.