POINTE COUPEE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Some leaders in Pointe Coupee Parish say their people will be safer in case of a chemical emergency. That was announced Thursday after putting together what they call the best chemical notification system on the market.
"It's so wonderful to have something positive come from Pointe Coupee," said Janet Vosburg of the Point Coupee Parish Police Jury.
The new chemical security network system was a $300,000 effort culminating Thursday with the presentation of two chemical detectors, one stationary and one portable.
"They will be used in Pointe Coupee to protect the public health of students, faculty, staff and area residents," said Kurt Jarreau of the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury.
The detectors use military technology to protect against chemical threats and risks. The technology is now in the hands of parish leaders like Jarreau and chemical expert George Lane. He's an award-winning analyst with 25 years of experience, and demonstrated Thursday how the portable detector works.
"You don't need to be a chemist to do this," said Lane, who was the project's consultant and adviser. "It operates on its own and it goes looking, scanning for every chemical in its library."
Lane said if a chemical is detected, the device will tell emergency services where it is at. A response team will then jump into action, determining whether to call for an evacuation.
"It goes a long way to protect not only the citizens but the students who attend our schools," said Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen.
Vosburg, a former teacher, said no chemical disaster prompted this effort. She said parish leaders just see the need to always be prepared.
"We wanted to be really proactive," said Vosburg.
Another part of the security network is a camera suspended 220 feet from a tower at a fire station. The technology detects chemicals within a 3.5 mile radius from where it is used.