Lafayette Parish Communication District in Louisiana is moving its 911 service to the cloud. With natural disasters in mind, the Parish has purchased a new cloud-based solution to ensure that its 911 service never goes down.

“Obviously, 911 can’t go down. It needs to be up and running, 24/7. People rely on that when there is an emergency. They need help. That’s what 911 was created for. It’s critical,” Craig Stansbury, director of Lafayette 911 and Emergency Preparedness, told local news channel KATC-TV. “We’re going to try to make sure the citizens of Lafayette Parish will always have access to 911.”

The current 911 solution, which handles all calls for Lafayette Police, Lafayette Sheriff’s deputies, Lafayette Firefighters, and Acadian Ambulance, is a server-based computer-aided dispatch system.

The current solution does have a backup system with identical servers and equipment. However, Stansbury said it is expensive to maintain and that a natural disaster could take out both the regular and back-up equipment.

“This cloud-based system allows us to go to any location, anywhere, we don’t need extra equipment, just internet access, and we can have the whole system up and running,” Stansbury said.

Another benefit of the system is the ability to perform maintenance and updates remotely, versus with the current system where a technician must physically visit the server. The new solution isn’t cheap, though. The Parish will spend $1.5 million to purchase the solution and an additional $2 million to install it. The Parish is also functioning as a bit of a guinea pig, as this will be the first cloud-based computer-aided design (CAD) system used in Louisiana.

“When we looked into the advantages of a cloud-based CAD system, we saw the flexibility of the system,” Stansbury told the Lafayette Daily Advertiser, a local newspaper. “Plus the system does not use servers, which means if something happened to the building or the area, this CAD could be up and running at any other location that could connect to the cloud.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs