New Orleans residents and visitors having emergencies can now talk to first responders by video when they call or text 911, thanks to a program city officials say will be a big help for people in crisis.
The Orleans Parish Communications District, which handles the city's emergency dispatches and 911 calls, will also be able to better determine a person's location using upgraded software from its private partner, Carbyne, a call handling platform.
The program, officials said during a press conference Tuesday, provides a more sophisticated path to help than traditional calls. Oftentimes during 911 calls, operators and dispatchers ask specifics that callers don't always know, such as exactly where they are, or in the case of health emergencies, the seriousness of their condition. But using location sharing or allowing video and pictures, the operators will be able to gather a lot of that information even if the caller doesn't know it.