As float riders load beads and parade-goers pick out spots on the route, a select group of people in Acadiana will stay back. The people manning the Lafayette Parish 911 call center field calls for police, fire and EMS.
The call center receives close to 700 calls a day, but in the days leading up to Mardi Gras, the volume increases and can even double. Craig Stansbury, the director of Lafayette Parish 911, says his staff is prepared.
"The first thing we do is make sure we have enough staff and we make sure the 911 personnel are staffed. Extra people before Mardi Gras, during Mardi Gras, even after Mardi Gras. Because we're going to get an influx of calls. Any time you have an event or something like that going on, 911 receives additional calls," explains Stansbury.
Because of the anticipated high call volume and the potential for spotty service, Stansbury says get the important information out first.
"Anyone that's calling 911, the most important thing we need from you is your location. They'll answer the phone 911 WHERE is your emergency. If you can give your location, that way even if the phone goes dead or something happens, we can send first responders to that location," he explains.