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Oneida County 911 Center busy dispatching "Sandy" calls

By NICOLE PITT

ORISKANY, N.Y. (WKTV) - It's all hands on deck Monday night at the Oneida County 911 Center in Oriskany. Extra staff has been called in and they are ready to take emergency calls that come in as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

"We want people to stay inside. Stay off the roads unless they absolutely have to be, you know? It's too dangerous to be out there driving," said Gerald Pedersen, Deputy Director of Emergency Services for Oneida County.

Officials from New York State Police, the New York State Department of Transportation, the American Red Cross, and the Oneida County Sheriff's Department make up a communications headquarters inside the center, ready for the increased winds that are on he way.

"We know things are getting worse. From all that we've heard so far probably after midnight through the early morning hours is when we expect the worst sustained winds. It's probably going to be the worst period for us," said Pedersen.

So far there have been a couple dozens reports of fallen down trees and downed wires which are causing some localized power outages.

"The winds are going to cause a lot of power outages, downed trees so we want to make sure people stay out of the roadways so they don't drive into fallen trees and wires. So we're really worried more about extended power outages because of this that could last a day or several days or maybe even longer," said Pedersen. "Normally we get winds during a thunderstorm and they last a little while and they are done..this we are looking at probably 3, 4, 5 hours of pretty strong winds and it is going to weaken trees and power poles and probably some buildings and stuff."

Officials expect to get flooded with calls in the morning when people wake up and see the damage in the light of day.

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