Lightning strike briefly halts 911 station

MERCER, Pa. -- Mercer County 911 emergency dispatchers were still using backup control stations and satellite fire dispatching systems today after a lightning strike knocked the 911 center off line briefly Sunday.
Jim Thompson, 911 director, said it wasn't a direct hit but the lightning blast at 2 a.m. knocked out the radio and telephone systems for a few minutes before backup systems were activated.
"We're 95 percent functional," Thompson said this morning.
However, it will take a couple of weeks for all of the equipment to be repaired and brought back into operation, he said.
Most telephone service has been restored but dispatchers are using backup control stations to run the emergency radio system and people are overseeing three satellite fire dispatching stations in Hermitage, Greenville and Grove City, Thompson said.
All fire departments in the county can be reached through those satellite locations, he said.
Some police departments are still sharing radio frequencies with neighboring departments, he said.
Southwest Mercer County Regional and Shenango Township police are using the same frequency in the southwestern part of the county while Hermitage and Sharpsville police are sharing another in the northern part of the Shenango Valley.

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