LCRA, PEC award $19,800 grant to help Hays County firefighters save lives


New CPR devices will aid first responders with North Hays Co. ESD #1 respond to life-threatening emergencies

LCRA and Pedernales Electric Cooperative representatives award a $19,800 grant to North Hays County Emergency Services District #1 for new CPR devices. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured in the front row, from left to right, are: Diana Gonzales, PEC public affairs representative; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter, LCRA Board member; Darrell Debish, ESD board treasurer; and Rick Arnic, LCRA Regional Affairs representative. Back row, from left: Bodie Hudson, ESD executive assistant; Jason Makusztak, San Marcos Hays County EMS captain; Zack Phillips, San Marcos Hays County EMS emergency medical technician; Stephen Baehr, San Marcos Hays County EMS paramedic; and Robert “Bob” Luddy, ESD district administrator.

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas – North Hays County Emergency Services District #1 soon will replace aging CPR devices with newer, more dependable models thanks to a $19,800 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative. The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $27,108 in matching funds from the ESD, will enable the district to purchase new mechanical chest compression devices to aid firefighters during lifesaving efforts. Former District Administrator Doug Fowler, who submitted the grant application when he was with the ESD, described the CPR device as a basic necessity for first responders. “These devices are used on almost every CPR call we get,” he said. “If someone isn’t breathing and has no pulse, we place the chest compression device on as soon as possible. We want to make sure there is a device ready for every cardiac arrest call.” Devices are located on each ambulance in the department and allow first responders to monitor airways and tend to other critical health concerns while patients receive continuous chest compressions. The department works with North Hays County Fire and Rescue to serve a 244-square-mile area in northern Hays County, including Dripping Springs, Henly and Driftwood. Fowler estimates that CPR devices are needed at least once a week. “Some of our CPR devices are over 10 years old and the manufacturer will no longer warranty parts or repairs,” he said. “We’re worried about parts becoming obsolete on the older devices and we won’t be able to get them repaired.” CPR devices also help to prevent fatigue in first responders during situations when compressions are needed for an extended amount of time. “Before this device was available, you’d have one of the two crew members doing chest compressions while the other one was doing everything else – dealing with the airway, getting the monitors on, starting an IV,” Fowler said. “Typically, a firefighter steps in and they are the ones who end up doing chest compressions.” Fowler has worked in emergency services for more than 30 years, including time spent as a fire chief, and has extensive experience performing CPR and using mechanical chest compression devices. “From personal experience, doing manual chest compressions is exhausting,” Fowler said. “It doesn’t take long before your lower back gets sore. There were times when I’ve had to do CPR on the scene and while riding in the ambulance to the hospital before someone could take over. “When someone gets tired, they don’t perform chest compressions as well as they should, but this device delivers a perfect compression every time, which frees up their hands for other critical needs,” he said. Fowler noted that the grant will help replace one of the two devices that need to be updated. “It can be hard to replace these devices with just tax dollars,” he said. “Having organizations that provide grant money for the things we absolutely need is a great improvement to public safety.” The community grant is one of 45 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. Pedernales Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in January. More information is available at

About LCRA

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 fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations.

About PEC

Founded in 1938 by then-Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson, Pedernales Electric Cooperative Inc. is a member-owned electric cooperative serving more than 398,000 accounts across Central Texas. An industry-recognized leader providing outstanding member service and reliable electricity, PEC conducts its business via a transparent and democratic process and highly encourages member participation.

Contact Info

Clara Tuma, Public Information Officer
[email protected]
After hours: 512-944-6719