Bastrop County’s 911 communications team continues to exceed compliance goals while seeing steady growth in the number of calls.
Dawn Adams, the director of the county’s 911 communications department, presented the 911 call statistics for 2019 to the Bastrop County Commissioners Court during their March 9 meeting. The agenda packet included 911 call data from 2011 through January 2020. Adams said the surprising part of the 2019 call statistics is that the total calls to the fire department increased by nearly 24 percent.
“We know our fire season, but this one went well into October this year,” she said. “So, what this leads us to do is looking at how we staff, and how we can better staff, those fire radios. Our challenge last year was we had so many competing fires from different jurisdictions, along with crashes or things like that where rescue services were needed.”
Total 911 call volume increased by five percent, which Adams said is normal for any growing county or city.
However, the county has seen a 9.9 percent increase in non-emergency calls, where people call the ten-digit number to report things that don’t require a 911 call. In 2019, over 87,000 non-emergency calls were received.
“That’s pretty high for us,” Adams said.
Bastrop County continues to meet compliance goals; 98 percent of the calls received are answered in under ten seconds, which Adams explained is about three to five rings. The national standard is 95 percent of calls answered within ten seconds.
“Imagine if you’re a 911 caller, you don’t want to hear the phone ring and ring and ring,” she said. “We’re above that 95 percent, so we’re proud of that.”
Adams said the department has a full staff as of mid-March.
“Bastrop is a growing county, so we expect these numbers to continue to inflate as time goes by,” County Judge Paul Pape said. “We’ll look forward to how we can be sure that we’re meeting all the needs for emergency communications.”