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News : 911 Call Center Bedbug Ordeal to Cost Over $100,000
Pittsburg, PA, USA, Aug 18, 2015 -- Allegheny County's 911 call-takers and dispatchers moved out of their building and into a network of mobile command centers Tuesday afternoon while exterminators try to rid the building of bedbugs.
Many emergency employees are now operating out of the trailers parked in the lot outside the normal call center's Lexington Street building. Others are stationed in conference rooms not infested with bedbugs inside the building, while some are also taking calls at the county's backup center in the Strip District.
"For us, it's really an opportunity to test out all these other technologies that we have the ability of deploying for various types of emergencies," Allegheny County Emergency Services Chief Alvin Henderson said Tuesday.
The move was made after a single bedbug was found in the call center last week. Henderson said only the one bug was found, but they want to prevent a wider infestation.
County officials said callers to 911 should not notice anything different.
Union leaders with SEIU 668, which represents Allegheny County dispatchers and other workers in the Lexington Street building, said Tuesday that their concerns with the Strip District building have been addressed. They earlier said the building could have mold issues because of a roof leak, but after touring the facility found that it was safe.
Even so, they believe there is a larger bedbug problem in the Lexington Street building. Deborah Cooney, who works for Children Youth and Family Services, said she believes bedbugs bit her while she worked this weekend.
"I felt something, and there were all these red welt marks. I was scratching really bad," Cooney said. "I got bit up."
Allegheny County officials did not have a total for how much the bedbug response is costing, but said it is expected to be around $100,000.
The county hopes to have the 911 call center operating normally by Friday.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Allegheny County:
Allegheny County is a county in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of 2014 the population was 1,231,225, making it the second-most populous county in Pennsylvania, following Philadelphia County.
Published: Wednesday, August 19, 2015