Dispatchers seeing rise in 911 calls from Lake Travis

Austin

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — After another drowning on Lake Travis over the Memorial Day weekend, 911 dispatchers say they are seeing a rise in calls from the lake as we head into the summer.

“In the past two weekends [we’re getting] a lot more call volume than we have seen in the past five or six years,” said Capt. Ken Renard, a dispatcher with Austin-Travis County EMS.

Renard believes more people are hitting the water since the lake level is higher than in years past.

It’s causing ATCEMS to make sure they have enough medics positioned at fire stations around the lake, ready to respond when seconds count. They also rely on 911 callers to give them a good location so help can arrive as quickly as possible.

“The lake is 64 miles long, that’s hundreds of miles of shoreline,” said Renard. “Knowing where you are at and knowing what cove you’re going into is going to be paramount to us finding you quickly.”

Dispatchers do use GPS technology that can pinpoint cell phone calls, but Renard says it’s not always 100 percent accurate.

Various departments help patrol the lake, but all first responders, game wardens and law enforcement officers are on a uniform pager system that sends call information out simultaneously.

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