The trouble with new roads: Dunn County emergency responders having issues locating some callsWith the influx of people and activity in the Oil Patch, emergency responders in Dunn County have found it challenging to keep up with calls and, in some cases, even locate individuals who need help.
By: Bryan Horwath, The Dickinson Press
With the influx of people and activity in the Oil Patch, emergency responders in Dunn County have found it challenging to keep up with calls and, in some cases, even locate individuals who need help.
An issue that has cropped up lately is that some newer roads and trails used primarily for oil drilling purposes are difficult for responders to find.
“We had an accident (Wednesday) in the northwest part of the county that took two hours to find,” Dunn County Chief Deputy Ron Krivoruchka said.
Like many organizations and businesses in western North Dakota — public and private alike — staffing issues are contributing to diminished service times.
In an effort to keep up with demand, Dunn County emergency calls, which had been routed through the Stark County Department of Emergency Services at the Law Enforcement Center in Dickinson, will soon be connected with the statewide emergency system in Bismarck.
The change will take effect later this year, though no concrete timetable has been set, said Dunn County Auditor Tracey Dolezal.
“Since we don’t have a dispatcher, Stark County has been our 911 dispatcher, but we outgrew them. Stark County has been great to us, but they’re having trouble staffing and they asked us to go through state radio in Bismarck,” Krivoruchka said. “It’s not a bad thing at all — I think it’s going to end up being a good change.”
Dolezal said no emergency calls have been missed due to the uptick.
“We haven’t had any issues at all and we don’t expect any in the meantime before the change goes into effect,” Dolezal said. “For someone who calls 911, there won’t be any difference once we go to state radio — they wouldn’t even notice a difference. We’ve had a great working relationship with Stark County, but, with the increase in calls, it makes sense for everyone.”
Stark County Director of Emergency Services Bill Fahlsing said he plans to issue a press release detailing the reasons for the dropping of Dunn County dispatch services once the transition takes effect.
“We have had some issues with finding some locations,” Fahlsing said. “The important thing to remember is that there will be absolutely no disruption to 911 services while this transition is taking place.
“Callers will still receive the highest possible level of concern. It’s also important that any entity putting in a new road contact us or Dunn County and let us know so we can plot it out.”
Brew said it has been a challenge to keep up with increasing development in Dunn County.
“Things are changing very quickly,” Brew said. “I know for a fact that maps are being updated all the time. Like a lot of other people, we’re trying to keep up with demand. Our emergency personnel do a great job working together — that’s something I really want to stress.”