LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - On stormy days, dispatchers are very important to first responders.
On severe weather days, dispatchers say their call load can double and even triple in some cases. As the storms rolled into Deep East Texas, dispatchers sat by patiently in the Angelina County Sheriff's office waiting for their first weather calls of the day. Two dispatchers worked through the storms and a 12 hour shift.
Calls around the entire county relied on their judgment.
"Everything funnels through here and they have to filter it out from their regular duties and a lot of time the general public are calling with concerns," Captain Alton Lenderman said. [They ask], 'Are their roads closed or open?"
When severe weather strikes, the dispatchers must take care of day-to-day operations as well as the weather calls.
"It's like a layered effect," Lenderman said. "With your routine calls and then when the weather comes in it effects the traffic and the response time."
Around noon on Wednesday, the weather calls started rolling in. A tree was reported blocking the road on Willie Nerren Rd.
"I'm heading to my buddies to feed my hog dogs and my pig and the road is blocked so we are going to have to take 103 around," Jaylon Mark said. It has happened to [my friend] before, same spot."
County employees are still not sure what caused the tree to break but their just happy to have been alerted to the call.
"Without them we would hardly be able to function," Lenderman said.