News : Philadelphia Beefing Up 911 Service for Pope’s Visit
Philadelphia, PA, USA, September, 2015 -- About a million people are expected to crowd into the city over the weekend for Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia. His trip culminates with a huge service on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway — where about a quarter million will see the pope say mass.
With all these extra people in town, there’s the need for greater emergency services. The police and fire departments have already announced that there will be extra cops, firefighters EMTs and other first responders on call. And the city is beefing up its 911 call center as well.
"The 911 call center can handle most major events," says Sgt. Gregory Masi of the PPD communications department. "But when we get into an event of this magnitude — that is, the Pope himself — we know there’s going to be an excessive amount of people coming into the city."
The Philadelphia Police Department mapped out the expected 911 traffic in four-hour blocks, and realized it would need extra operators for the duration of the pope's visit. So the PPD will be opening up an additional 911 call center, with extra operators, starting Friday. This isn't about the possibility of a catastrophic event during the pope's visit, it's simply to handle the additional volume expected with the city holding hundreds of thousands more people here than it usually does.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, September 28, 2015