Metro Department of Emergency Communications changes dispatch system following Sunday’s storm

Local News

WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — We have an update to a story we shared with you Wednesday after Wilson County dispatch received a number of calls from people in Davidson County during Sunday’s deadly storm.

Many complained that both emergency lines and non-emergency lines were busy. A flaw News 2 was told has since been fixed.

“It is possible to call 911 and get a busy signal,” said Stephen Martini, Director of Metro Nashville Department of Emergency Communications, adding it’s incredibly rare and only happens with a widespread massive disaster, like Sunday’s storm, or a mass shooting.

“To get that level of phone call again you’re talking about something like the active shooter that happened in Las Vegas where someone is opening fire into a large crowd.”

In an effort to stop the busy tone from ever getting to callers ears, the Metro Nashville Department of Emergency Communications doubled their call capacity, pairing their backup location with their primary site.

​​”We have the same amount of people answering, but when folks call they won’t get a busy signal,” said Martini.

Instead, callers will hear an automated message that lets them know they’re next in line.

As for why Wilson County dispatchers received so many of Davidson County’s calls on Sunday, Martini blames part of it on busy lines and loss of power.

“If the cell tower experienced a power outage, the one closest to you couldn’t process the call, cell phones look to the next closest tower, if the next closest tower is over a county line, you’ll be routed to the next county’s 911 center rather than routing to us ​​[Davidson].”

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