2017-09-21 / Letters

Not good in an emergency

TO THE EDITOR:

Irma has passed giving all of ­Wilkes County quite a jolt. When we consider all the people in Florida that got hit by her and those in Texas and Louisiana that were hit by Harvey, we did really well and are thankful to our good Lord for being with us. Still after going 78 hours without electricity, it is cause for reflection to see if maybe next time, and there will be one; maybe, just maybe we can do some things different.

First and foremost I cannot say enough good about Rayle EMC. These ladies and gentlemen worked tirelessly to get the power back on as soon as possible. Thank you again. Wilkes County road department also did a good job of getting all the roads passable in the county. Now for the things that really need a look.

To most of the people I have spoken to in Danburg, the most important things that we see that needs improving is the telephone system. For a good many people here, we have either poor or no cellular service. Therefore a lot of us depend on our landlines for emergency service. This was not good for us because the backup battery with the new fiber optic system is only good for eight hours. Seems to me that this would have created a real problem had there been a true individual person emergency. After all, the telephone is our lifeline and we do pay a monthly 911 fee. Surely the people in charge can find a way to rectify this problem.

As a Wilkes County Volunteer fireman for the past 33 years I can say with some authority that our local men, as well as the rest of the county firemen, did a good job checking on everyone in our local area. Yet, we got absolutely no information from the emergency people higher up the ladder. There was no wellness check from Dispatch, EMS, or law enforcement. With our pagers dying because of power outage, it was even harder to get any information. Maybe it is time for Wilkes County to seriously consider hiring an Emergency Management person, someone whom oversees all the emergency departments. This hodgepodge system we have now of having a 911 director, an EMS director, and no county-wide fire chief actually leaves no one in charge. This is not a good situation to be in during an emergency.

JOSEPH M. RILEY

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Apparently this letter got

Apparently this letter got some people to thinking which was my intent. Still I wish the Editor had used my title "Points to Ponder" rather than the one he used. His title gave people a negative outlook right from the beginning which was not my intention. JMR