New emergency phone system can dial everyone in SC parish in 13 minutes flat
By Shonna Riggs -
Dec 07, 2006
A satellite phone system with super sonic capabilities will cost St. Charles Parish $78, 000 for the upgrade, Tab Troxler, director of the Emergency Operations Center, tells the Herald-Guide.
“The old phone system didn’t have the firepower this new one does. We can notify about 5,000 residents in one minute about any parish emergency,” Troxler says.
That means all 50,633 parish residents can be warned of trouble in less than thirteen minutes flat.
“We are doing our part, and families have to do their part. Emergency preparedness and emergency safety starts in the resident’s home,” Troxler says.
Emergency phone alerts notifying residents in the parish to evacuate due to possible chemical or natural disasters is needed says Troxler.
The new satellite phone system which is provided by Intermedia in Lafayette, works in conjunction with the new AM radio station to keep parish residents safe and prepared.
“Additional components of the phone alert system are paging and Internet capabilities.”
Troxler says the new system allows him to send text messages to parish employees to keep them up to the minute.
“We didn’t have this during Hurricane Katrina. We used the old phone system and we were pretty much lost,” Troxler t ells the Herald-Guide.
“Our entire phone system crashed, we couldn’t reach people using individual phone lines. Now we can do this, and it should prevent any communication breakdowns,” the emergency continues.
Troxler now has the capabilities to send typed messages to all of the electronic messaging boards in the parish, including the electronic boards at Destrehan and Hahnville high school.
“We have to put our parish’s safety first and we have several ways to reach the residents now.
“If we can’t reach you by phone, we can notify you with our emergency channels on television, if that doesn’t work we have our new AM Radio 1370 which will be up and running no later than January 31, and finally if we still can’t get you, we have the electronic boards.
“But we will find some way to keep you safe so we can say at least we have done our part,” Troxler says.
The St. Charles Parish Emergency Operations Center is the only emergency operations center in the state that employs nine people year round-24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Homeland security money is paying for the new phone system.