First Watch to keep an eye on security threats during Super Bowl
The emergency workers are gathered in the city's Emergency Operations Center to use the First Watch computer system, a program that can identify alarming trends that would signify a bioterrorism related event, WWLTV.com reports.
"(First Watch) takes the computer aided data directly from the 9-1-1 system and puts it in a readable format," Jeb Tate, the public information officer for New Orleans EMS, said, according to WWLTV.com. "We have folks staffed here in the Emergency Operations Center 24/7 and that is one of the main programs that is pulled up on their laptops in front of them. Looking at calls for service, keeping an eye out for any trends."
The emergency managers use the program to set up virtual fences around high-profile locations throughout the city. The system is triggered by specific activity from police, fire or EMS workers. If the city gets a large number of 911 calls about a white powder, an alarm would be set up in the system.
The First Watch system is meant to spot any bioterror attacks or disease outbreaks as early as possible so Homeland Security and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals can intervene as quickly as possible, WWLTV.com reports.
"We are going to be looking for respiratory symptoms, things that are going to look like the flu," Raul Ratard, Louisiana's state epidemiologist, said, according to WWLTV.com. "Things that are going to look like pneumonia. But also we are concerned with gastroenteritis because we are concerned with diarrhea, vomiting because there is a lot of norovirus transmission these days."