Cell towers down, emergency communications challenging in Morgan City

St. Mary Parish

ST. MARY PARISH, La. (KLFY) Emergency communications took a hit in St. Mary Parish from Hurricane Ida.

Cell phone service is difficult from just east of Franklin, down Highway 90, to Morgan City.

They’re working on a “modified” 911 system to take emergency calls.

In Morgan City, the police department is taking a step backward to go forward, to respond to calls and to talk to each other.

“We started dropping systems. Cell phone service went down. We work on 400 meg radios here. Those went down. Our land lines went down,” said Morgan City Police Chief James Blair.

Chief Blair says his officers have had a tough time talking on one another since the storm passed through.

“It’s been a problem for us to adapt. We want to keep the community safe. We want to make sure the community if patrolled. We’ve doubled up everybody. We’ve even resorted to physically coming here to get our complaints from the dispatcher,” said Blair.

Blair says they’ve gone back to an old way to communicate, by today’s standards. They’re using VHF walkie talkies. They’re not perfect, but they’ll do until they can get the system fully functional.

“These are our 400 meg radios. On these radios you can talk from north Louisiana, down here, but they work off towers like cell towers do. When the towers go down and there’s problems with the back up systems, they’re useless,” said Blair.

Blair says he expects to have the full police communication system back on line by Wednesday.

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