By: Julia Deng
ODESSA - Ector County firefighters are having difficulty responding to 911 calls due to a countywide glitch in their emergency dispatch system.
"Our pager system is down," Jimmy Ellis, the West Odessa Volunteer Fire Chief, said. "We're not sure what's wrong with it right now but all the volunteers in Ector County are being dispatched by radio. We have to leave the radio on all the time and have them send an alert tone over the radio so we hopefully can hear it."
NewsWest 9 contacted Ector County Emergency Communications. Their Grant Ave office appeared to be closed Friday and representatives could not be reached for comment.
According to Chief Ellis, it's unclear what caused the paging malfunction and whether or not the extreme winter weather had interfered with their dispatch system.
"Possibly," he said. "We're not sure and I wish I knew, because it's a lot easier for them to dispatch us over our pagers."
Between the dispatch system crash and dangerous road conditions, firefighters have been unable to respond to every emergency.
"It just can't be helped," Ellis said. "We're doing our best with not a lot of resources but it's hard for us to listen to the radio around the clock. You know, you've got to rest sometimes."
As of Friday evening, Ector County Emergency Communications representatives have not returned calls from NewsWest 9.