By Rafael Marquez
A $15,000 expenditure that would go toward a swift water rescue boat for the Emergency Services District No. 5 (ESD 5), which includes the Kyle Fire Department, was allotted by Kyle city officials within the 2016-2017 budget earlier this month.
But city’s budget item doesn’t include personnel training, which would force ESD 5 to foot the bill.
ESD 5 Chief Kyle Taylor said the need for the boat is created by not knowing if another agency “can get to us where we need it and how many hours will it be until they get here” during future flood events.
Should there be a need for a water rescue during a flash flood, ESD 5 has to request the resource from a different department in the region, as it does not currently own a swift water rescue boat.
Taylor said that during each of the three most recent flood events, the department has “had a need to rescue people that are stuck in trees or on top of houses.”
While the city of San Marcos has two swift water rescue boats, “when we need it, theirs are already tied up,” Taylor said.
Flash flooding events usually trigger the county to open the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Requests for swift water rescue boats are coordinated through the EOC.
During the most recent flood events, the EOC coordinated a boat from the San Antonio area; the office has also coordinated resources from San Marcos and other cities as well.
The specialized training needed to safely operate the boat and perform rescues costs $1,100 per person, Taylor said.
He added ESD 5 can likely only afford to send six people to the training due to budgetary constraints.