Fire Communications Officers operate a state-of-the-art communications center. The Communications Officers receive the initial request for fire related responses from callers within the unincorporated area of Ouachita Parish including the towns of Richwood and Sterlington. The call is processed quickly and efficiently to get the proper response personnel and equipment dispatched to the location as soon as possible. The Communications Officers work with other response partners, including but not limited to, Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office and Acadian Ambulance on a regular basis to coordinate an effective response. Emergency medical calls are processed by Acadian Ambulance and shared on a parish wide CAD (computer aided dispatch) system electronically. The unified CAD system is also used by public safety agencies in Ouachita Parish. The use of this shared system allows immediate notification and sharing of critical response information. Every OPFD response vehicle is equipped with a MDT (mobile data terminal) that allows the responders to see all call response details. The MDT also provides the vehicle’s location to the Fire Communications Officers and routing information for the response personnel.

The Fire Communications Officers receive 911 calls from the 911 Call Center through an enhanced phase II compliant VoIP phone system. This system is capable of displaying the caller’s location to the Fire Communications Officer through our CAD mapping system. Text to 911 is available but we recommend calling 911 if at all possible to obtain precise incident information quickly from the caller. Commercial and residential fire alarms along with non-emergency calls are received by calling (318)322-4174 at any time. The annual response call volume for OPFD was just over 10,000 in 2021.

The Fire Communications Officers also provide call answering and dispatch service to the City of West Monroe Fire Department. The City of West Monroe fire operates three fire stations with an annual response call volume close to 1,000.

The OPFD mission critical radio communications network utilizes the LWIN (Louisiana Wireless Information Network) radios and three standalone communication sites located in Ouachita Parish. The LWIN network has statewide digital two-way radio coverage and provides interoperable communications with other response agencies in the state. The use of the LWIN and OPFD owned VHF systems ensures constant responder contact and availability.

OPFD fire communications officers are nationally certified in public safety telecommunications and fire service communications through APCO (Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials). The fire communications officers receive monthly training to maintain these certifications. The training also keeps the Fire Communications Officer informed of department policies and industry trends.