211 Expands In Oklahoma

Friday, February 9th 2007, 9:49 pm
By: News On 6

Residents of seven Green Country counties will soon have a lot of valuable information at their fingertips. News on 6 anchor Craig Day reports on a special help line designed to answer all kinds of questions.

Officials held a run though on Friday for the new Bartlesville area 211-call center. Starting next week, operators will be on duty full-time to answer all kinds of questions about community services available to residents.

"Basically what we're trying to do is make their search for help easier," Program Director Andria McCollough said.

"What we think it's going to do is actually educate people about the great services that are already there in their community," said Thad Satterfield with the United Way.

The Bartlesville area call center will serve Washington, Nowata, Craig, Mayes, Delaware and Ottawa counties, and a portion of Osage County.

"There is help out there for individuals they just don't know how to access that,” McCollough said. “So by just calling the three digit telephone number, they are able to access that help that's there."

Another benefit to having a 211-call center is that it will relieve some of the workload on the 911 system. Emergency operators are often tied up on non-emergency phone calls that would be better handled by the 211 system.

The Bartlesville area 211 system will work much like the 211 system that's been running in Tulsa since July of 2005. Last year, Tulsa's 211 operators took 70,000 calls.

"We feel like 211 is going to fill the gap and make the connections to people who have needs with the services that are already out in the communities," said Satterfield.

The new call system's first day is Sunday, February 11th. It will be staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days each year. This new help line is free and confidential, and it's designed to benefit more than 200,000 people in Green Country.