COLUMBUS, Texas – A $21,313 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority will help fund the purchase of a swift-water/high-water rescue boat for Colorado County Emergency Medical Services.
The total cost of the life-saving craft will be $26,642, and Colorado County EMS will contribute $5,329 in matching funds. The 14-foot-long boat can transport up to six people and bear a total payload of 1,918 pounds.
Colorado County EMS officials say the need for a rescue boat was plain during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, when Colorado County received nearly 30 inches of rain. The deluge resulted in the need for more than 120 water rescues within the county and along the Colorado River, which flows through the county for almost 50 miles.
Michael Furrh, director of Colorado County EMS, said the new boat will enable local crews to respond immediately, without having to wait for help from nearby partner agencies that may also be dealing with water-related emergencies. He estimates the boat could decrease response times by minutes or even hours, depending on the situation.
“Colorado County EMS is blessed to receive this opportunity through LCRA,” Furrh said. “With this grant, we will be able to purchase a much-needed water rescue boat to service not only our county’s residents and visitors, but our entire region. Our agency is staffed 24/7/365 and will be able to deploy a highly trained staff upon being notified of a water emergency, possibly impacting the lives of many Texans.”
The new boat will let responders provide both rescue and patient care within the same response.
“We look forward to our continued partnership with LCRA and look forward to being able to provide this extra service in the very near future,” Furrh said.
The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA’s wholesale electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted from Jan. 1-31, 2020. More information is available at
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to enhancing the lives of Texans through water stewardship, energy and community services. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934. For more information, visit