By Maureen Daniels – November 2023
Here’s why. . .
At LACA’s annual meeting in July, Chris Lee was awarded the prestigious Jack Bertron Award. Jack was a highly respected past President of LACA and every year the Association identifies an individual who exemplifies his same commendable qualities of commitment and service to the community.
Chris is the model of public service - kind, patient, tireless, dedicated and very generous with his time.
Chris has been a valued member of LACA’s Safety & Emergency Services Committee for the past 13 years. When he first joined the Committee he was Deputy Director of 911 Communications in Louisa County, and more recently, he is serving as Lieutenant of the Logistical Section for Louisa Fire, Rescue and EMS.
The S&EMS Committee has been meeting since 2010. The group is composed of members of law enforcement from Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties, the Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR, Conservation Police); Fire, Rescue and EMS from Spotsylvania and Louisa; US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Lake Anna; the Lake Anna State Park, the Louisa and Spotsylvania 911 Emergency Call Centers and TOWBoat,US.
The goal of the Safety & Emergency Services Committee has been to identify ways to make Lake Anna a safer place for all its users. One of the first initiatives was to address the frustration of 911 operators trying to determine the location of a boater in distress on the lake. It was common for the 911 call takers to hear - “I see trees”, “I am near a dock”, “there is an island”. . .
What emerged from the Committee was the LKA 911 locator map, which is designed for boaters who come here, as well as boaters who live here, to use in the event of an incident on the water. 911 Operators in Louisa and Spotsy use these 911 maps as a common reference so a person in distress can look at the map and 911 can prompt them to determine their location.
As Deputy Director of Communications, Chris Lee was key to working with both Louisa and Spotsylvania 911 personnel to make sure this safety initiative could work to improve response time to boaters in trouble. Improvements continue to be made to make sure the 911 maps remain an effective tool in ensuring prompt emergency response.
The second safety initiative from the group capitalized on using Lake Anna docks and Dominion’s islands as additional location markers for emergency purposes. The S&EMS Committee proposed installing yellow and black 911 location markers that would be visible to boaters on docks, islands and in common areas.
Today, there are almost 800 911 location signs on Lake Anna to assist boaters in distress. Louisa and Spotsylvania 911 operators are trained to ask callers on the water if they can see a 911 marker. That marker is linked to the street address and/or by GPS coordinates to facilitate a prompt response. And again, it is thanks to Chris Lee who has verified every application to ensure an accurate address before entering that location into the 911 CAD systems in Louisa, Spotsylvania and Orange.
The obvious benefit to this safety initiative is the more exact the location of an emergency, the more efficient the response, the more positive the outcome.
LACA is grateful to all our Lake Anna neighbors who have already posted 911 signs on their dock and/or common areas - and to those who are considering it; to Dominion Energy for allowing us to use their islands as additional 911 locations, and to Christina Brining, LKA Signs in Mineral, who has fabricated and mailed every 911 sign to the applicants.
Well done, Lake Anna!