Leaders discuss how to improve communications during severe weather

You want to be able to make a call in the middle of an emergency. Call your family, friends, or in serious situation, 911.
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 5:46 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2022 at 7:08 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - You want to be able to make a call in the middle of an emergency. Call your family, friends, or in a serious situation, 911. It’s something Louisiana has been trying to get right for a while now. And if the last few hurricanes have taught us anything, it is the rural communities that need the biggest boost in service.

We may not have a hurricane at the moment, but we are still in hurricane season and that means at any point things can take a turn for the worse. Before that happens, state and federal leaders are working to try and close the divide when it comes to broadband access.

“They’re also mapping the entire United States by address to figure out where homes and businesses have access to the internet and who does not,” said Governor John Bel Edwards to reporters inside GOHSEP.

Governor Edwards said he believes Louisiana could get somewhere close to $1 billion from the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that passed last year. Almost 90,000 Louisiana homes will receive broadband access over the next two years. Jessica Rosenworcel, Chairwoman of the Federal Communication Committee, shared what changes have been made since Hurricane Ida.

“We have updated our policies that require carriers to roam on each other’s networks when there is a disaster and networks go down. And we’ve also updated our policies to make sure that 911 call centers get the information they need about where outages may be in our networks,” said the chairwoman.

Several 911 call centers went down during the 2016 flood, leaving many of you feeling helpless. Some of you even reached out to our newsroom as an alternative. Leaders today said they are working to make sure a mass outage during a crisis never happens again.

“You know, you may only have to call 911 once in your life. It’s going to be the most important call you’ll ever make. It’s the one call that has to go through. So, if we’ve got problems with our 911 call systems, we should laser-light focus on how to improve them,” the chairwoman added.

State leaders are also looking at options to make the 911 call centers better than they are now.

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