Hidalgo Co. Dispatch Center Handling Emergency Calls
WESLACO – Hidalgo County officials said they are taking emergency calls as phone lines continue to be interrupted in parts of Hidalgo and Willacy Counties.
The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office said an AT&T fiber optics cable was cut in Raymondville causing issues with 911 systems. Emergency calls are getting transferred to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s dispatch center.
The sheriff’s department said the 911 system in Hidalgo and Willacy Counties has a fail-safe system in case an emergency situation arises. They said the dispatch center was built separate from the main 911 system so it can continue operating if the main system experienced technical problems.
If they go down, one of the neighboring counties will step in.
Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said they expect for it to be a long night. He said the 911 dispatch center is the last one standing in the county.
“We’ve got extra personnel here. I’ve got all my communication supervisors here helping out,” he said. “Emergency calls for Hidalgo County and some parts of Willacy County are being routed to our 911 dispatch center.”
With all incoming emergency calls, we asked Guerra how people would still receive help regardless of their location in the counties.
“If you’re calling from a cell phone, that cell phone call will be picked up here in our 911. We take the call and we get all the pertinent information,” he said.
Guerra said they will then radio the correct police department. He said the strategy is the most efficient way to keep in touch.
“We give them that call. We also give them their call back number so they can actually call the complainant to get more information,” the sheriff said.
Guerra said they also help cover medical emergencies.
“We have Hidalgo EMS and Valley EMS dispatchers, and they are taking all medical calls and they’re dispatching their calls to their respective jurisdictions that they service,” he said.
The Hidalgo County sheriff said they expect for repairs to take all night.
Sergio Castro, the regional coordinator for the 911 system for Hidalgo County, said repairs to fiber optic cables take a while to fix. He said the estimated completion time will be around 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
Home security and fire alarms were also impacted by these outages. We reached out to Smith Security Group in Weslaco.
The company’s owner said some security and fire systems are wired to phone lines. He said when the phone line is interrupted, they system won’t be able to send out an alert.
The company said newer systems have cell phone connections, which will not be affected.
The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office said if someone does have an emergency to call 911.
UPDATE: On Monday, the office provided four numbers to call for non-emergencies. Tuesday morning, they announced the numbers were deactivated, since landlines for other agencies were back up
Count on CHANNEL 5 NEWS to bring you the latest details as they become available.