Waukesha County prepares for Winter Storm

Officials in Waukesha County are preparing for significant snowfall over the next 24 hours. 

At the Waukesha County Highway Department, workers conducted maintenance checks on plow trucks Thursday afternoon to make sure all are in good condition. 

Other employees at the highway department's garage near Grandview Blvd. & Northview Rd. in Waukesha worked to mix road salt with water and BEET HEET, which makes it more effective in very cold temperatures. 

Dan Moudry, an eight-year veteran of the highway department, said 10 to 15 plows would be out on state and county roads across Waukesha County as soon as the snow starts to fall Thursday night. 

He said the number of trucks on the roadways will increase as snow picks up. The full fleet is almost 60 plows. 

"The bulk of the fleet will be on the roads entirely until those roads are clear," Moudry said. 

At the Waukesha County Communications Center, dispatchers were expecting to see a spike in 911 calls that typically comes with any snow storm. 

"Our (call) volumes can triple or quadruple what a normal day or evening can bring," said Christine Bannister, a Shift Supervisor at the Waukesha County Communications Center.

During the snowfall last weekend, Waukesha County dispatchers took 187 calls related to disabled or crashed vehicles over the 24-hour period between 2 p.m. on February 3 and 2 p.m. on February 4. 

However, the Waukesha County Communications also took 10 emergency calls in which no one was on the other end of the line, and 13 in which there was no emergency, during that same time frame. 

Bannister said, with resources stretched thin to deal with severe weather, it's important the public only dial 911 to report emergencies presenting an immediate threat to health, life, property or the environment.

Bannister said dialing 911 to report road conditions, or a common power outage, can tie up a dispatcher who could be dealing with an emergency. 

She said accidental dials can't be ignored. When someone calls 911 from their pocket by mistake, dispatchers must treat the call as legitimate and send first responders to the relevant address. 

"Calling 911 to let us know the plow truck put snow in front of your driveway might not be the best way to utilize those resources," Bannister said. 

"We just want to make sure priority emergencies are getting the right help as fast as we can get it there," she added. 

Bannister said non-emergency calls can be made to 211, or else to the non-emergency dispatch number at 262-446-5057. 

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