LACA’S COMMITMENT TO KEEPING YOU SAFE ON LAKE ANNA
In 2010, LACA’s Safety and Emergency Services Committee began meeting with local law enforcement. Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, local fire & rescue, EMS, the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Dominion Energy, the State Park, and the Lake Anna Business Partnership.
The goal was to identify the biggest challenges facing users of Lake Anna and propose ways to mitigate those issues.
At that time, the primary concern was difficulty in locating emergencies on the Lake because people could not give an accurate description of where they were.
Over the next several of years, the Committee implemented four safety initiatives that significantly improved boaters’ ability to describe their location to 911 call takers in an emergency situation. More accurate information has led to more efficient response times.
1. Naming Lake Anna Bridges (2010). LACA lobbied the General Assembly to accept official names for Lake bridges and worked to get permission from V-DOT for LACA volunteers to install signs on their bridges.
2. Lake Anna Maps.(2011-2019). Every two years since 2011, the Committee has a produced a simple, user friendly map of Lake Anna that emphasizes landmarks like bridges, marinas, the State Park, restaurants, the dam, etc. to help people describe to 911 call takers where they are in an emergency. Since 911 operators are members of the Committee, they have been instrumental in developing the map and, in fact, use the Lake Anna map as a reference when taking emergency calls from the Lake. Maps are distributed to our Lake Anna safety partners—marinas, restaurants, rentals, and certain businesses that interact with the boating public.
3. Dock Signs.The Committee decided it would be an advantage to use waterfront docks and common areas as additional 911 location markers. This unique, voluntary safety initiative allows people to apply for a dock sign, which links a randomly assigned number to their street address. The application is processed by the Deputy Director for 911 Communications in Louisa so the dock signs and common area signs correlate to street or GPS addresses in both Louisa and Spotsylvania Counties. Safety partners—Louisa, Spotsylvania 911 call centers and LKA Signs & Designs, LLC in Mineral. For more information: See “Dock Signs” on this website.
4. Island Signs. (2015) A generous grant from Dominion Energy allowed the Committee to increase the number of 911 location markers by installing “dock signs” on Dominion’s islands around the Lake. These signs are assigned GPS coordinates, which links it to the number on the sign so first responders can be sent directly to that island. Safety partner— Dominion Energy.
These initiatives— naming the bridges, the Lake Anna Maps, and the dock and island signs provide all users of Lake Anna with location information that will allow first responders to reach them more quickly and the quicker the response, the more positive the outcome.
Additionally, the Safety and Emergency Services Committee formed the basis 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.
The first four initiatives detailed above significantly increased first responders ability to arrive on scene more rapidly and initiate life saving techniques.
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): Louisa County deputies, fire, rescue, EMS, Emergency Communications; Spotsylvania deputies, fire, rescue, EMS, Emergency Communications; IT; Department of Game & Inland Fisheries (DGIF); Conservation Police Officers; U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Lake Anna; State Park and TowBoatUS have been meeting quarterly to resolve communication issues and improve coordination of resources. That includes providing an increased police presence on Lake Anna and Fire and Rescue assets as well, as staffing permits.
There has been a unified commitment across agencies to make the needed improvements in radio communication and coordination of resources. 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 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 at Tim’s Restaurant 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.