Marble Falls Fire Rescue soon will be able to purchase emergency equipment to extract individuals trapped in confined spaces, thanks to a $22,815 community development grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative. The new equipment also can be used in swift-water and flood rescues.
With the Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with more than $8,400 in matching contributions, Marble Falls Fire Rescue will become the only fire department in its service area with the equipment to perform confined space rescues.
Confined space rescue involves retrieving victims who are trapped or have a medical emergency in areas that have limited space, such as silos, manholes, power plants and industrial facilities. Members of the department will complete the necessary rescue training over the next several months.
"One minute trapped in a confined space is far too long," said Russell Sander, Marble Falls Fire Rescue chief. "But right now, we have to wait for crews to arrive from Austin or Williamson County to assist with the rescue, because they have the necessary equipment. It typically takes about 30 to 45 minutes for them to reach us, and this wait time could prove detrimental to the victim. Now we'll be able to perform this service locally so we'll save time in transporting the victim to a medical facility."
Emergency responders also could use the equipment in the event of a call at LCRA's Wirtz or Starcke dams.
Chief Sander said a tour of both dams convinced him that his department needed confined space rescue equipment.
"We currently have limited rope rescue gear, which would be inadequate in case we needed to respond to confined space rescues at either location," Sander said. "The new equipment will allow us to more effectively respond to these calls."
Marble Falls Fire Rescue serves Marble Falls and provides assistance to Horseshoe Bay, Granite Shoals and other areas of Burnet County through mutual aid agreements. The department also responds to calls on Lake Marble Falls and Lake LBJ.
The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA's Community Development Partnership Program. The program 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. PEC is one of LCRA's wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted July 1-July 31. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.
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 access to nature at more than 40 parks, recreation areas and river access sites along the Texas Colorado River, from the 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 lcra.org.