Lightning damages 911 system Cause of strikes under investigation

July 13, 1993|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Staff Writer

Two lightning strikes in 16 days on Carroll's 911 emergency communications system have caused an undetermined amount of damage and great concern at the Emergency Operations Center, the county commissioners were told yesterday.

Each of the two recent hits took the 911 system off the air for hours and destroyed or damaged equipment at the center, including power supply machinery, Teletype equipment used for the hearing-impaired, dispatch consoles and associated controls, said Thomas van de Bussche, bureau chief of the management information system.

J. Mike Evans, director of general services, contracted with an engineer survey company to determine the cause of the two recent strikes. He said the damage was unexpected because all the equipment is grounded and plugged into surge-protected outlets.

The survey will cost $3,500.

The tower at the emergency center in Westminster had had only five hits in the past 10 years, Mr. van de Bussche said.

Each of the other hits caused minor damage by comparison, he told the commissioners.

The control center is working with only one of its three console panels.

While the center's equipment was out of operation, emergency communications were directed from the Westminster fire station.

No estimate was available yesterday of the cost of repairing the damaged equipment.

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