Sometimes it's good to have a backup plan.
Having endured hourslong outages of its 911 system on two occasions in recent months, Erie County's Emergency Management Agency has learned this lesson the hard way.
Nonetheless, the agency seems to have learned. It's shelling out $7,400 to install a backup cable for Erie County's 911 system.
County commissioners on Thursday approved EMA director Bill Walker's request to install the communications cable, which will serve as a backup in the event anything happens to the primary 911 lines.
"Based on the problems we had these past two months with 911 ... it would behoove us to move forward as quickly as possible," said Bill Monaghan, county commissioner.
The county's 911 system was down for hours Aug. 23 when county workers shredded a phone cable while rototilling a garden near the county services building on Columbus Avenue.
Not a month later, private contractors digging a trench near the same building snagged a 911 cable with the bucket of a backhoe. That knocked out 911 service for the better part of seven hours.
The backup cable will create something of a fallback in the event anything else goes wrong, county officials said.
"With this configuration, if one of these cables might be damaged in the future, we would have a redundant system to route calls through," Walker wrote in a Nov. 9 letter to commissioners.