Covington explains longer wait times for 911 calls during flood

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - Covington city officials are explaining an increased wait time for 911 calls made during flooding last week.

City Manager Larry Klein, Assistant City Manager/City Solicitor Frank Warnock, Police Chief Spike Jones and Fire Chief Dan Mathew held a conference call with the Kenton County Dispatch Center (KCD) Director Ed Butler this week to inquire about the time delays.

Butler explained that additional dispatchers were called in to service to handle the increase in call volume when the rain event worsened, and that the volume of calls during the heaviest rainfall was six-to-seven times the normal volume of calls.

As a result, the KCD began to triage calls, which is protocol when there is a high volume of calls. As a result, some callers experienced longer than normal delays. If the caller was determined to be in need of emergency response (vs. a non-emergency call) by the dispatcher, then KCD protocol directs that a call for service record is created  and sent immediately to Covington Fire or Police Department which then responds accordingly.

Also as part of the normal protocol at KCD, at a certain point in that volume of calls when the computer system can no longer place a hold or wait on calls, they begin to roll over to other dispatch centers such as Boone and Campbell counties for response. Therefore, when a call is received in one of those dispatch centers and the caller reports that their basement is flooding, the call is classified as non-emergency (not requiring immediate police or fire response).

Covington residents sounded off on problems during a meeting on Tuesday.

Disaster Relief clean-up kits are now available through the American Red Cross. The Covington Fire Department has distributed 150 clean-up kits provided by the American Red Cross. For those who still need a clean-up kits, please call the American Red Cross directly at 513-579-3955.

With the help of the Covington Neighborhood Collaborative and Center for Great Neighborhoods, a neighborhood canvas has been organized this weekend to conduct damage assessment of individual properties in affected neighborhoods of the City to send to the County and State to determine eligibility for very low interest loans to assist residents in replacing personal property and repair to other property damage. The damage assessment consists of a brief survey by volunteers to collect required data. The long-term benefit of the assessment is to gather data that will be useful for grant applications that will secure funds for mitigation projects. The damage assessment may continue beyond this weekend if necessary in order to collect the data from all properties affected by the flood disaster. If for some reason your property is not contacted by volunteers for the damage assessment please call the City at 292-2160 and you will be contacted for the survey information.

For volunteers wishing to help this effort, please arrive at the Center for Great Neighborhoods, 1650 Russell Street, Covington, this Saturday at 9 a.m. You will receive instruction at that time on how and where to conduct the survey. If you would like to help, but cannot make this Saturday, please submit your name to the City Manager's office at or 292-2160 for any potential follow-up assessment volunteer opportunities.

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