SALEM COUNTY

9-1-1 Dispatcher Shocked During Storm Speaks Out

During Tuesday's strong storm, lightning bolts connected with a dispatch center in Mannington Township, NJ, shocking several employees who were inside.

During the storm, Salem County's 9-1-1 dispatch center was monitoring hundreds of calls when lightning struck and five dispatchers felt a shock go through their bodies.

Investigators are trying to figure out if the lightning struck the building or one of the dispatch towers.

“I was taking a call when the power in the building surged. I felt this quick shock through the phone, into my arm and up my neck,” said Salem County Dispatcher Doug Hogate. “It was such a jolt, I dropped the phone.”

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After a supervisor called in local ambulance crews, EMTs checked dispatchers’ vital signs while they took emergency calls.

After 40 minutes, dispatchers were sent to the Memorial Hospital of Salem, where they underwent a number of medical tests.

“My blood pressure was extremely high at 240/130 and I had a steady heart rate at 130,” said Hogate. "Immediately after the shock, I felt an intense headache".

The dispatchers suffered soreness, but none had any major injuries.

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