County calls tallied

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The Routt County Communications Department answered 7,580 phones calls, 697 of which were 9-1-1 calls, in December.

Those statistics are available with new equipment that allows the department to track how many calls it receives more closely than before. The statistics help the department make decisions about how best to staff each day and also provide details about all the department does, said Faith Mendoza, director of the Communications Department.

"It shows how much work is done behind the scenes before a person even gets to your door," Mendoza said.

The 7,580 incoming phone calls in December do not include the radio communication between dispatchers and others. That's an average of 244.5 phone calls per day for the month.

About half of the total calls -- 3,819 -- resulted in a service.

The Routt County Communications Department has agreements to provide service for all of Routt County, including the city of Steamboat Springs.

For Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger, the large volume of calls came as a surprise.

"It's very much an integral part of the public safety (system)," Monger said.

Having the statistics will help the county stay up to date with population increases and other needs, he said.

"We want to make sure we're continuing to provide adequate service out there to our community," Monger said.

The detailed information is available because of the department's new telephone system and recording system that were installed in November, Mendoza said.

Before, the department could track the number of calls received through reports from the phone company, but it couldn't correlate the number of calls with its computer system.

With the new numbers, department officials will learn more about the peak hours and seasons for emergency calls, so it can respond with appropriate staffing, Mendoza said.

For 2004, the department recorded 45,611 calls, or a monthly average of 3,801, all which are related to a specific complaint.

In all of December, the department's dispatchers logged 168 full hours on the phone.

"Your ear can get mighty sore," Mendoza said.

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