BEND, OR -- This most recent storm is keeping emergency dispatchers incredibly busy. Deschutes County 911 Director Steve Reinke says each passing storm seems to compound the problem. "We understand the public is looking for resources for what’s a very unusual situation, this winter. One of the things we’re not equipped to do is to help people make decisions on dealing with their roofs – clearing them or repairing them. We aren’t allowed to make recommendations for any specific vendor and are really drowning in other calls and wouldn’t be able to give the dedication to someone looking for information. Same thing with plumbing issues."
Reinke tells KBND News, the most common call coming in this week is for a crash. "Once a major crash happens on a major roadway, because of the challenge of getting vehicles removed, more road closures are happening probably than usual. And, we just ask everybody not to go out unless they absolutely have to. Certainly, we want people to drive slower. Even though it seems like it’s OK, it’s the stopping part that’s always the challenge."
The county set up an Emergency Operations Center on Tuesday to help prioritize resources during the biggest incidents. Reinke says it was an unusual but necessary move due to the amount of new snow piled on top of the massive amount already on the ground, which makes it difficult for first responders. "Folks from public safety and support agencies are coordinating responses to major incidents and making sure that resources are available to take care of the day-to-day stuff, as well as some of the extra ordinary stuff that’s going on; especially the crashes." He adds, "It’s just a way for everybody to make sure that we are dedicating the resources to the highest priority areas and incidents, to make sure that people that really need help are able to get it, and sometimes, when you have extraordinary situations like this, decisions have to be made about what’s going to be done next. Everybody’s taxed for resources and things only stretch so far."