HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN)– A new agreement to streamline first responder agencies in Hays County is set to launch October 1.
“We truly believe this could save lives,” says Hays County commissioner Lon Shell.
He says the interlocal agreement has been more than 15 years in the making.
Pending final approval by the parties, representatives from the cities of Kyle and Buda, Hays County and Texas State University would operate a call center out of one building, located behind the current government center on Stagecoach Trail.
San Marcos will continue to operate it’s own fire and police department system.
Right now, Shell says nearly 20 different emergency services operate within the county.
“So, if you call 911 in the city of Kyle because of a fire, it’s answered by PD, and then that call is transferred to the Hays County dispatch center, which takes time and creates, you know, a link that could fail before that fire department is actually noticed that there is an emergency,” he says.
Shell says the new agreement would not only will representatives from the different agencies be operating in the same room, they will also be using the same system.
“So that no matter what agency is dispatching their first responders, all other agencies and those dispatchers see all of those assets, see what’s happening on the ground, immediately provide backup,” he says.
Shell says he expects response times to improve as a result of this new partnership.
“We’re confident our first responders provide a very high level of service but they can only start providing their service when they’re told that its happening. And I believe by combining these emergency communications and co-locating them, it will allow them to get that call out sooner and get their first responders on the streets sooner.”
Shell says employees are being trained on the new system now as work on the new building finishes up.
Kyle city council members are expected to discuss the new agreement at Tuesday’s city council meeting. They had already approved an earlier version of the agreement.