City leaders discuss Oct. floods response times


by KVUE News

Posted on December 2, 2013 at 8:34 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 2 at 9:39 AM

AUSTIN -- The Austin Public Safety Commission will hear from first responders regarding Onion Creek flooding and recovery efforts at their meeting Monday afternoon.

The Austin Fire Department will present an overview of its response and answer questions from the commission.

Since the floods more than a month ago, leaders have said a number of factors slowed down first responders. One of them was uncovered by the KVUE Defenders; several of the city's helicopters were not equipped to perform air rescues.

Another has been addressed by Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. He says city leaders relied too much on technology and gauges that were not working properly instead of relying on people who lived in the neighborhoods.

The problem that faced every agency that night was that the water rose so quickly -- 15 feet in 11 minutes, and first responders had little time to warn people.

The Public Safety Commission will address needed policies, procedures and equipment required for more enhanced notification for residents who are at risk in emergency situations.

The commission will also discuss 911 call center staffing.

Monday's presentation regarding only the Austin Fire Department's role in the response is set to take place at 4 p.m. at City Hall.

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