E-911 partners with RapidSOS in age of cellular devices

By Bonnie Culverhouse

As landlines become a thing of the past, Webster Parish E-911 is taking steps to stay up to date in the new world of technology.

Director Angie Chapman said 911 has partnered with RapidSOS to transform emergency response.

“It’s a new location technology used for cell phone calls, and it provides us almost real time updates on a location,” Chapman said. “If the caller is in a moving car or walking around outside, we can locate them.”

RapidSOS functions on GPS tracking that’s in the person’s device, whether it’s a watch or tablet or cell phone.

“As long as it’s on your network that you pay for, it can locate you in the event you can’t locate yourself,” she said.

Being RapidSOS Ready also means Webster Parish 911 has been approved to receive other critical information automatically when the cell phone connects. 

“This can include a crash notification, alarm information for your home, personal medical information,” Chapman said. “If your phone has a health application and you store your medical information in there, it is provided to your 911 operator immediately when your phone connects.”

For persons without those devices, Chapman said to go online and register for a free health profile.

“You can put whatever information you want in there,” she said. “It’s active in about 5 to 10 minutes and it includes the information you put in. It’s extremely helpful to EMS.

“I urge every resident of Webster Parish to sign up for their free Emergency Health Profile so critical information can be shared with our 911 telecommunications in the event of an emergency,” she continued. “The process is simple and only the information entered into the system is provided to our team at 911.”

Chapman said in October, 911 received 2,966 calls. Of those, 994 required they dispatch emergency response of police, fire or EMS. She said 105 were fire service calls, 232 were EMS and 552 required law enforcement response.

“Unfortunately, 911 hang up calls were up,” she added. “Of the 552 law enforcement calls, 161 were hang up calls that we had to send police officers out to see if it was an emergency because we could not get anyone on the line when we called back or we couldn’t get an adult to the phone because a child was on the phone and wouldn’t give it to an adult.”