Project Description

Christie Digital Lafayette Parish Communications District

No Room For Error

Emergency Operations Center – Lafayette Parish Communication District

Situation

It’s no exaggeration to say that lives depend on the reliable functioning of Emergency Operations Centers’ AV technology. In mission-critical environments of this nature, system design has to be rock-solid and execution must be faultless.

“The AV system is the key to bringing information to officials, before, during and after an incident; it helps us to take care of the citizens of Lafayette Parish, says Craig Stansbury, Homeland Security/911 director for Lafayette Parish. “It’s probably one of the most important systems we have to be able to do our jobs.”

The Challenge

Lafayette Parish’s requirements for its new EOC were clear. The technology needed to be robust. It needed to be reliable. And it needed to be redundant so that even in a worst-case scenario the core of the system would remain functional. Beyond that, as a public organization, the Communication District expected strong value for its dollar. Crucially, it also needed a provider with a demonstrated ability to provide premium-level service and support. For all those reasons, Lafayette Parish chose IES as its AV technology provider. After all, not only does Louisiana-based IES marshal deep experience in Emergency Operations Center design and integration, it’s headquartered in an area that is almost uniquely prone to extreme weather events.

The Solution

Working in close consultation with Stansbury, IES selected and installed 60 Christie Extreme Series 55-inch LCD panels throughout the facility. Configurations included a 4×4-foot video wall in the main emergency operations center and 2×1-foot displays mounted along the side walls. Four 2×2 displays were installed in the 911 operations center, and additional displays were placed in the director and assistant director’s offices, as well as the conference room. The system was controlled by Christie Phoenix with Phoenix Quad-T providing additional 4K inputs.

“We chose Christie Phoenix because of its ‘distributed architecture’, which allowed us to build in redundancy with multiple processing nodes. Redundancy is essential in any ‘mission critical’ facility,” says Lloyd Francioni, managing partner, IES. “With other systems, if there’s a catastrophic failure, everything goes down. With the Phoenix, we can have a back-up node to take over processing. If it goes down, the worst you can lose is two displays, not the entire wall. We stress very highly with 911 and EOCs: You have to have failsafe levels of redundancy.”

Says Stanbury of the new system: “We can disseminate information throughout the building to different locations. One of the most important things is versatility – we can bring in different types of information. We have a CAD (computer aided dispatch) system through 911, and we can show through this system where all the police, fire and first responders’ units are on a map on our video wall.”

The Result

By every measure from system reliability to information accessibility and clarity, the installation has earned praise throughout the organization. Even during the catastrophe of Hurricane Ida in 2021, the EOC functioned as intended. Stanbury does not hesitate in extending credit: “Our team worked very well with IES, and IES went above and beyond. They were a pleasure to work with.”