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Call Centers Using 232-Help Step Up During Hurricane Isaac

September 04, 2012

Businesses are often times the biggest users of call centers, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be some very good uses for them beyond just making the best bottom line. When Hurricane Isaac moved through the Louisiana and Gulf Coast region, one particular call center service, known as 23-Help, jumped into action and probably saved lives as it took emergency calls. 


This particular call center is one that gives information and is able to refer people to help when they need more than information. 232-Help services people who are calling about everything from where the nearest shelter is located to whether or not a specific school will be closed.

Once a state of emergency was declared in Louisiana, the call center received more than 470 calls in the first 24-hour period. Executive director, Maria Placer talked about how her center came into play when it came to helping people prepare for the effects of the storm. “We are an emergency resource line for any crisis in the state,” said Placer.

Adding, “We were getting lots of pre-storm calls, for shelters, food, dog shelters, which shelters take animals. After the storm we’ll get calls about where people can get tarps, ice, things like that.”

Placer added that she never felt as though those who were calling were panicked. She felt that they simply wanted to be well prepared for when the storm finally rolled in and settled down. Placer added that she felt that people had learned from Katrina and other storms that have ravaged the area. People didn’t want to be caught, unable to do anything for weeks at a time.

Mona Gobert Cravins, the manager of the 232-Help system talked about how many Louisiana residents are served by this line and the larger LA211 program. “We have six centers all around the state, including Shreveport and Lake Charles, and during times of emergency we all act as one system,” said Cravins. “We are getting the information from the government offices, so all the agencies have the same information.”

Cravins says that the centers were in constant contact with the governor’s office, as well as FEMA and Homeland Security in order to get up to the minute information.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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