PINEVILLE - Dean Meadows has seen and heard his fair share of disaster in his 28 years heading the Wyoming County 911 Call Center.

Little has happened that Meadows doesn't know of or hasn't heard about during his time there, and as a deputy sheriff before that.

At the helm as director of the 911 Call Center, Meadows continues to move the organization into the future.

But it was the worst disaster that spurred what has been a technological revolution in Wyoming County.

"It was definitely the flood in 2001," Meadows said of the horror and destruction that came out of that event, some of which is still being felt in the county.

"Back then, we got the word out the best way we could at the time, and a lot of that was through newspapers, television and radio," Meadows said. "That was probably the event that led to us getting better ways to get the information out to the people in the county."

In April, Meadows and the team at the 911 Call Center introduced WENS to the area, the Wireless Emergency Notification System.

County residents can now get notifications, from emergency weather notices to power outages, weather forecasts and even a community calendar.

By registering for the service, participants can get notifications sent to their cell phone via text or voice mail and also through e-mail.

It is the latest innovation that has Meadows excited.

"It really is a great tool to have, and the great thing about it is it's very user-friendly," Meadows said. "We have had systems in the past that were a lot of work, but when we saw WENS and what it had to offer, it was really a no-brainer."

Meadows has been on the cutting edge of 911 technology since he started at the 911 Center on Aug. 13, 1991.

"I have been able to witness the advancement in technology over the years and it is continuing to grow," Meadows said. "The WENS is a relatively new service, definitely new for us, and we are going to keep advancing."

There are 51 counties with similar 911 Call Centers in the state and Meadows reckoned that nearly two-thirds have recently added the WENS for their county.

Another recent innovation is the ability to text 911 to get help if a person can't call the number.

That is part of the Next Generation 911 that has Meadows excited for the future.

In the near future, video 911 will be entering the equation.

"Let's say a four-wheel rider from out of state is lost in the woods," Meadows said. "They can simply shoot us a video and by looking at it we will be able to find their location."

Meadows said that roughly 8,000 county residents are on their land-line data base and 1,800 have signed up for the notifications. He would like to see more. Residents can register at the the 911 Center's web site or social media platforms.

The 911 Call Center is connected with the following agencies:

n Law Enforcement: Wyoming County Sheriff's Department; Pineville, Oceana and Mullens police departments; West Virginia State Police; Animal Control; Litter Control; DNR and Forestry Department.

n Fire Departments: Cyclone, Mullens, Oceana, Pineville, Upper Laurel, Brenton, Coal Mountain, Hanover.

n EMS: STAT, JanCare and Elite.

Meadows recently celebrated his 28th anniversary with the 911 Center.

"It's a great job," said Meadows, who also previously worked at Kee Field Airport in Pineville. "And the best thing is, I was able to be here from the inception. I've always enjoyed this type of work. It's been great and we are going to continue to grow."

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