Local dispatchers return to Hamilton Co. after helping with Irma - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local dispatchers return to Hamilton Co. after helping with Irma relief in Florida

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

A team of Hamilton County 911 dispatchers returned from Naples, Florida on Sunday after spending seven days there answering calls for help in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. 

They’re the only dispatchers from Tennessee to deploy to Florida after the storm.

While in Florida, they eased the burden on local dispatchers who had been working around the clock with no relief. 

“It was an uplifting atmosphere. You could see the relief in their faces when they saw us. We weren't even in the building yet and they were very joyous of us getting there. It gave us a very uplifting feeling before we even got into the building,” said Hamilton County 911 Dispatcher Adam Biggs.

The dispatchers say they initially faced some challenges that come with working in an unfamiliar city and using different technology.

“Once we sat down with their system and we were starting to take the calls and not having the knowledge that we're used to having here, it kind of threw us off a little bit but we regrouped really quickly,” said Biggs. 

The dispatchers took calls related to thefts, property damage and flooding while working in Florida. 

They say it’s common to assist in other 911 centers within Tennessee but traveling out of state to help in an emergency situation is unusual. 

The six dispatchers say responding to Irma relief is an experience that made them stronger. 

“We did a good job. I think we helped them out and that's always a great feeling to be able to help out other groups especially when they're in a position like they were in so we're very proud of ourselves,” Biggs told Channel 3.

The group is part of TERT which stands for Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce.

It was established nationwide after Hurricane Katrina.

The dispatchers who responded to the call for help in Naples were LeWanna House, Jean Rogers, Sharon Barker, Adam Biggs, Erica Reid and Patrick Austin.

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