AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Fire Department and Austin-Travis County EMS spent Thursday working on swift-water rescues.
While training is important for first responders, the person calling in the emergency can play a part as well.
“One of the first questions out of our communication medic’s mouths is ‘what is the address of your emergency,'” said Captain Darren Noack with ATCEMS.
Knowing where you are is important, and even identifying a landmark can help.
“If you are in an area like the greenbelt or the lakes that we have all around where there isn’t a landmark, you can’t look up and say, ‘I am next to the Rudy’s’ or ‘I am a block away from this intersection,'” said Noak.
Noak said his department uses an app that can help identify a location for first responders, even if the caller can’t identify where they are. It is called What3Words. By using three words, it pinpoints where you are in a 10-foot by 10-foot box.
“They can utilize the app, program that in, and they will better know where to go to find the patient that needs that help,” said Noak.
On Wednesday, a swimmer on Lake Travis went under and didn’t come up. First responders arrived at the park next to the property where the emergency was taking place.
“In this case, there was a little confusion, because there are two park accesses in the area,” said Noak.
What3Words is a free app ATCEMS is urging people to download.
“It certainly could have helped us a great deal and it could help us in other situations as well,” said Noak.