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GT 911 Dispatchers, Responders Manage Numerous Winter Accidents

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The weather on Monday was causing accidents all over Grand Traverse County.

9&10’s Caroline Powers and photojournalist Jeremy Erickson continue our team coverage.

They take a look at how central dispatch handles these busy winter days.

It’s the place where phone calls first come in following an accident, and this morning Grand Traverse 911’s phones were ringing off the hook.

“Loud, noisy and hectic.”

That was Grand Traverse County Central Dispatch Monday morning.

“Everybody’s answering the phones and getting the best possible information they can get from whoever’s calling it in,” says Leah Hornacek, deputy director of Grand Traverse 911. “Sometimes it’s the driver, sometimes it’s not, and we have to ask a lot of questions.”

Monday morning, dispatchers received more than 80 calls and helped responders get to 20 accidents, all between 5-10a.m.

“Our biggest thing is fielding the call and sending help. Getting the information quickly and getting help to them as soon as possible,” Hornacek says. “That accident doesn’t just affect those people right then right there. Its people coming into the area, it’s an increased risk the more people we have coming to that area, so we get the best information that we can.”

Grand Traverse 911 has found that turning to Facebook has been a great tool to help spread the word about crashes.

“We’re able to get out a lot of information really quickly and really efficiently, and help people on their journey in or out of town,” says Hornacek.

While dispatchers stay on the phones, police, the road commission, and tow truck drivers are out on the road ready for the call to help.

Anytime Towing is one of them.

“Cars into poles, cars just into the ditch from not paying attention, braking and they just lose control and go into a ditch,” says Anytime Towing manager Nick Jacobs. “Slow down, give yourself plenty of room in between the other vehicles and drive safe.”

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