Brazos County 911 is asking rural residents to submit specific property information to reduce response time in case of an emergency.
Residents living in rural areas often have gates and/or long, complex driveways.
Captain Rick Wagner, of the District 2 Volunteer Fire Department, says valuable time can be lost when first responders are trying to access the property. He recalls responding to a grass fire last year.
“I’m watching a fire burn, and I had to get out, get tools, dismantle the gate hinges and pop the gate open so we could get through,” said Wagner.
Personnel from District 2 VFD met with Brazos County 911 to develop a solution.
Lauren Blackburn, Associate Director, created an online form where citizens can enter information such as gate codes, property layout and other emergency contact information.
“Those are all things that we ask on every fire and medical call that is out in the rural area anyway. This gives them the ability to give us all that information ahead of time, so when we do get a 911 call, we aren’t having to ask all that and log it in the call notes,” said Blackburn.
Blackburn says any Brazos County resident can fill out the form which can be found online at info.bc911.org.
News release from Brazos County District Two Volunteer Fire Department:
During an emergency, each second can mean the difference between life and loss. When first responders arrive to a property, valuable time is often lost trying to actually access the property, particularly in rural areas where many residents have gates and long complex driveways. The Brazos County District 2 Volunteer Fire Department, Brazos County 911, and Brazos County Precinct 2 Commissioner Russ Ford encourage Brazos county property owners to help reduce response time by logging onto https://info.bc911.org/ and providing detailed instructions for first responders to access their property once they arrive.
The Brazos County District 2 Volunteer Fire Department noted that responding to emergencies in rural areas presents unique challenges not faced by first responders within the city limits. If the reporting party does not provide a gate code or precise directions once first responders have actually entered the property, first responders are often forced to cut locks, remove gates, or even be faced with forks in the driveway while trying to actually locate the incident.
While some residents have previously called dispatch to provide this valuable access information, many residents are not aware this is an option. The additional access information was also not communicated in an efficient manner to county area firefighters and medics who lack the vehicle computer systems used by city departments.
Personnel from District 2 VFD recently met with Brazos County 911 system Associate Director Laura Blackburn to develop a solution. Property owners can now enter access information such as gate codes, property layout, and other emergency contact information on a secure BC911 website. Blackburn also developed a process that takes the access information and automatically uploads it to the dispatch system when a call is generated. The automation frees dispatcher time for answering calls and eliminates the need for follow up calls from first responders for access codes and other pertinent details. District 2 VFD and BC911 have conducted beta testing to ensure the new systems and procedures work seamlessly, while keeping property information secure.
Commissioner Ford praised the solution developed by BC911 and District 2 VFD personnel, noting that it will benefit volunteer fire departments throughout the entire county.
Commissioner Ford wants all Brazos County residents to be made aware of the importance of uploading their pertinent information to the website before an emergency occurs. When seconds count, first responders already having the information can mean the difference between life and loss.