Iberia Parish Government officials broke ground today on the Iberia Parish 911 and Emergency Operations Center.
According to Parish President M. Larry Richard, the project is funded with a combination of Federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds and Iberia Communications District funds.
The total project cost is estimated at $5.9 million, and it’s expected to be complete by June 2020, Richard says.
Prescott Marshall, director of Iberia 911 and Emergency Preparedness said the new building will be about 10,000 square feet and will be built to withstand Category 5 Hurricanes.
The two operations are going to have the electrical systems, space and location that is needed, Marshall said.
“Right now both of these operations are in substandard facilities, either in terms of space or system support,” he said.
For instance, the 911 operation is now in an old building that doesn’t have the electrical system needed for a communications operation.
“On the radio, you can hear everybody else talking because the dispatchers have to sit so close together,” Marshall said. “In the emergency center, we can’t get all the decision-makers in the same room. It’s difficult to make effective collective decisions in an emergency situation when you can’t do that.”
The new facility is on the highest spot available, and far away from the rails, to minimize risk in floods, hurricanes or train derailments, he said.
“We will have significantly more space,” Marshall said. “We will have reliable power and reliable communications, and those are the things you need to control emergency operations.”