METCAD’s Storm Response

On the afternoon of June 29, 2023, Champaign County and surrounding counties were in the path of a strong storm with extremely high winds, known as a derecho. This storm resulted in such a high call volume that the METCAD dispatch center was inundated instantly with 9-1-1 calls once the storm approached. During the first hour of the storm, METCAD received a record 657 incoming phone calls. The next hour also remained extremely busy with 199 incoming calls. Adding to the call volume, METCAD (which reciprocally serves as a backup to Vermilion County 9-1-1) answered numerous calls that rolled over from Vermilion County when they were also overwhelmed with incoming calls.

The METCAD dispatchers and supervisors working when the calls initially started did a great job at fielding as many as they could. To help, four additional Telecommunicators were called in to work and three trainees were reassigned to duties they could do independently. This was the first time that METCAD had all eleven available consoles actively used simultaneously.

This heightened level of activity continued for approximately five hours. After that initial wave there were many more calls that needed to be checked on and cleared out by first responders and the work took most of second shift to complete. The building where METCAD is located also lost power during the storm but they were able to switch over to emergency generator service until Ameren restored the power nearly 22 hours later.