Social media played vital role during winter storm

As a winter storm blanketed Chilton County with ice and snow Jan. 28, social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter became crucial tools of communication for Chilton County E-911.

“Without social media we would not have been able to push out information as quickly as we were able to do last week,” Chilton County E-911 Director Dan Wright said on Tuesday.

Chilton County’s 911 service processed almost 2,000 calls from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 28, with 97 calls being because of motor vehicle accidents, possibly related to the winter storm.

Wright said the service experienced a call volume increase of more than 50 percent for the snow event.

“It is estimated that we reduced our general information phone calls by over 60 percent,” Wright said.

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Shelby Ellison - Dispatcher of the year

For most people living in Chilton County, Shelby Ellison is a voice of comfort and outlet to help or safety.

Ellison, 44, has been a 911 dispatcher for Chilton County since 1996 and was named the Chilton County E-911 Dispatcher of the Year on Tuesday.

“Shelby is consistent, he has a caring attitude and an eagerness to work and learn new things,” Chilton County E-911 Director Dan Wright said. “Things change so much and it is very tough to maintain that level of consistency every day. Shelby has been able to do that.”

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E-911 approves policy for funeral escorts - Clanton Advertiser

Chilton County E-911 Director Dan Wright worked to develop a policy for the funeral escorts to still contact E-911 but avoid calling dispatch with an online submission form through the new website.

“We were having to commit immediate resources to handle non-emergency calls,” Wright said. “Now, we can handle the e-mails as our workload allows and the efficiency measures we set out to obtain we will still have.”

Wright said he met with representatives of the three funeral homes in Chilton County including Ellison-Cleckler Funeral Home, Martin Funeral Home and Agee Brother’s Funeral Home regarding the new policy, and each funeral home was on board and supported the new plan.

Each funeral home will have a login for the website which will then direct them to select which cemetery the funeral will take place. After submitting the form, the funeral homes will receive an e-mail confirmation from E-911.

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Dispatcher Helped Save Child's Life

Dispatcher Kelly Smitherman Center, receives award

Chilton County 9-1-1 Dispatcher Kelly Smitherman, center, was recognized Thursday fro helping save the life of the infant neice of Shannon Cobb, left. 9-1-1 Director Dan Wright presented Smitherman with the award.

 Smitherman took a call on Sept 2 about an infant who had choked and stopped breathing, and she walked Cobb through administering the "baby Heimlich" maneuver. "If it wasn't for her telling us what to do at the time, my niece would no longer be here" Cobb said.

Clanton Advertiser - Sept 21, 2012 - Read the full story