In Lafayette Parish, getting help in emergencies is now only a text away.
It’s a sign of the times, you can now text 911 to connect with emergency responders.
"It’s just part of the advanced technology that Lafayette 911 is going through so we can stay on the cusp of technology," said Director of Lafayette Parish Office Of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, Craig Stansbury. "It’s become a part of our technology so a lot of people can now use texting in the incident of 911 there could be a particular incidence where someone couldn’t talk on the phone and that way they can text if they really needed to."
Any phone with any carrier can text 911 operator in case of emergency. You would give as much information as possible then the text will come up on the screen of the operator with a distinct sound. A conversation with the operator will then be initiated.
"We answer it and usually people give just directly the address and other times we will respond ‘Lafayette, what are you reporting?’ and they’ll tell us what’s going on and we’ll just respond from there," said one of the operators.
But Lafayette OEP director said it’s always better to call if it’s safe to do so.
"In saying that, we definitely want to stress to people that using the phone talking to us is the most preferred way. We can gather information much quicker and there’s also things that are available to the 911 operator when you call meaning even if you call and cant say anything there’s a lot of information they can gather from background noise," said Stansbury.
When texting 911, the most important information to include is your location.
"So what happens is your text hits a tower which comes to us so that just gives us a general location. If you are calling that will give us your exact location or a much more precise location," he said.