FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WPDE) — Florence County 911/Central Dispatch was named the 911 Center of the Year at the annual SC APCO/NENA Conference on Friday, October 20.
“This award really means a lot to us this year,” Mitch Fulmore, Florence County Central Dispatch Manager said in a news release. “We have worked short staffed and many hours of overtime through the landfall of Hurricane Matthew and to still be able to provide the same high level of service, is truly amazing. Time and time again our TCO’s (Telecommunications Officers) have shown their dedication to their job and their motivation to helping the public and the responders they dispatch for. This award goes to show just how great our staff is.”
On Oct. 8, 2016, Hurricane Matthew hit Florence County with 85 mph sustained winds and rain.
The storm caused wide spread damage with 85 percent of the county losing power, more than 6,000 homes damaged, over 100 roads and four bridges washed out, and three dams breached, according to Florence County Emergency Management.
Two shifts of TCOs were brought into Central Dispatch to cover each 12 hour period during the storm.
"This proved to be a good decision as the extensive flooding limited the ability to get TCOs to and from work and the call volume would have quickly overwhelmed a single shift," Levi James with Florence County Emergency Management said in the same release.
"During Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath, Florence County Central Dispatch never dropped a 911 call or lost radio contact with the agencies it dispatches," James said.
The center's call volume went from 463 calls for service per day to 888. On the day of landfall, the call volume went to 3,648 generating 425 calls per hour at the height of the storm, according to Emergency Management.
Three officers were also honored: