THE LAKE ANNA RESCUE GROUP
The Emergency Services and Safety Committee provides the leadership for the Lake Anna Rescue Group (LARG), which was established in 2017 after a fatality on fireworks night. That tragedy revealed an urgent need to improve communication and coordination among all first responding units to the lake.
Previous initiatives significantly increased first responders' ability to arrive at a scene more rapidly and initiate life saving techniques. These included naming the bridges, the 911 Emergency Map and the dock and island signs. (Click here) They are designed to provide all users of Lake Anna location information that allows first responders to reach them more efficiently.
However, the tragic death of a boater on fireworks night revealed communication challenges for responding agencies across multiple jurisdictions to talk to one another in order to coordinate responsibilities.
Since that incident, members of the Lake Anna Rescue Group (LARG) have been meeting every other month to resolve communication issues and improve coordination of resources. Members of LARG include Louisa County deputies, fire, rescue, EMS, and Emergency Communications; Spotsylvania County deputies, fire, rescue, EMS, Emergency Communications and IT department; Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (DGIF) Conservation Police Officers; U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Lake Anna; State Park and TowBoatUS.
There has been a unified commitment across agencies to make the needed improvements in radio communication and coordination of resources. That has also led to an effort to increase the presence of law enforcement and emergency services on the lake, particularly during the summer weekends and holidays.
In fact, LARG holds two “all call” drills each year which replicates real emergency situations for all first responders to react to. Debriefings take place after each exercise so the group can assess performance and continually make improvements. These frequent meetings and interactions have resulted in a Lake Anna Rescue Group culture of cooperation, respect and pride in working together to keep all users of our Lake safe.
Since 2018, LACA, in partnership with LARG, has hosted a Safety Summit to discuss issues concerning businesses and users of Lake Anna; to provide information about LACA initiatives and to highlight LARG’s commitment to safety on the Lake.
Topics have included: increased police presence, statistics from law enforcement agencies showing activity and incidents on the Lake, the Lake Anna Maps, Dock signs, harmful algae blooms (HABs) and how to respond, how businesses can help promote safety on the Lake, Electric Shock Drowning (ESD), and paddle craft.