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Chris Olson

Chris Olson is new E911 coordinator for Mitchell County.

OSAGE | For newly appointed E911 operator, Kris Olson, one of the biggest challenges of his position will be trying to keep up with the database, which consists of the phone numbers and addresses of the residents of Mitchell County.

Olson, served as the interim E911 operator before becoming the permanent operator, after the retirement of Ginger Thompson, cites the growing trend of switching from landlines to cell phones as one of the major issues creating difficulty for the county’s database.

“We get updates from Quest and OMU,” Olson said, “but lately there have been a lot of disconnected numbers. People have switched to a cell phone or they have died or moved and they don’t inform the 911 office of the changes.

“If people want us to know where they are, especially in the case of an emergency, then they need to update their information.”

To update your information, contact Olson at 641-732-4837.

Olson, who has been a member of the Osage Fire Department for 21 years, considers the information to be critical in determining whether or not to send someone into a structure to search for someone, especially in the case of a fire.

“We just want to know who id at which addresses,” Olson said. “It’s up to each individual in Mitchell County to give us their cell phone numbers, if they want us to have that information.

“I try to spread my hours out so I can be in the office. They can talk to me, or leave a message if they’ve moved. Lots of people will keep their old number but move to a different location.”

Olson also pointed out with rental properties, lots of folks are good about giving a list of names for the individuals living at the address, which has been very helpful and appreciated by his office.

In addition to his new position, Olson has been dabbling a bit in helping in dispatch on the radio side of things.

“Being a fellow dispatcher, I can get with them and help troubleshoot any issues that arrive. We have a darn good team of dispatchers who have taught me a lot, including Bonnie Kloblassa who has been around for 40 years, so you can imagine what she’s seen.

“I’m glad I still dispatch, so I can empathize and know what to expect. I miss full-time dispatching, but I’m glad I can still do it part time, and I’m looking forward to working with the schools and children on what 911 is and when and how to use it.”

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