UPDATED: Milford emergency dispatch is no longer prioritizing calls to 911, having caught up on incoming calls by 3 p.m., according to Fire Chief John Touhey, who is the town's emergency management director.
"We just got caught up," he said, when interviewed about 3 p.m. "We still have ongoing calls, but we're able to keep up with them at this point."
Original Story (posted 1:15 p.m.):
Milford emergency services are now prioritizing calls made to dispatch, because so many are coming through at once.
First priority will be calls relating to life-threatening situations, including medical calls, reports of trees into houses, reports of wires down, smoke and fire alarms, and similar problems, said Fire Chief John Touhey.
People should not call the emergency line, 911, if they have power outages or to report trees down into yards. The calls are coming in so fast they have to be prioritized, Touhey said.
"[People should] only call if they have an actual, true emergency," he said.
Normally, the emergency dispatch center, shared by police and fire, has two dispatchers working. Today, they have three, plus a trainee, Touhey said. The Fire Department, normally staffed with nine people on a Sunday, has 17 today. Police numbers were not immediately available, but also had been increased for the response to Hurricane Irene.
People should be wary of any wires down they see, Touhey said. Report them. Don't go near them. Don't drive over them with a car.
People can help emergency responders by staying off the roads, to let crews clear debris and respond to problems around town.
"Stay indoors," Touhey said.