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Law enforcement, EMS officials ramp up efforts as spring break rolls in

The Austin Police Department and Austin-Travis County EMS have laid out plans to make sure everyone is safe during spring activities across the city.

AUSTIN, Texas — Spring break in Austin isn't just for students. 

The season change means plenty of festivities for anyone to enjoy, such as South by Southwest, Rodeo Austin and the opportunity to explore all the areas in better weather. 

As events and an influx of people pour into the city, so will an increased presence of law enforcement and EMS personnel. 

Cpt. Darren Noak with Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) explained the department kicks off spring break with SXSW, adding extra staff and resources.

"We basically treat that as a city within a city. So we really create our own EMS system in that area in with the hopes of keeping the ambulances that are on duty normally in their normal response districts," Noak said.

It's a plan Noak explained has been used for years, where ATCEMS is able to provide cots in a medical tent and have ambulances on standby in case someone needs to get to a hospital. 

"We have our office of the Chief Medical Officer, medical directors, out there. We have our physician assistants out there. So, we have a really strong force in the downtown area during that timeframe," he said.

Noak also added other resources people can rely on if they are on their own, including the "what3words" app, which is a simple way to help find, share and save locations. 

"You know, we always say the first thing in an emergency that we need to know is where are you and where to send help. So that that app is one way of of relaying a really accurate location as to where you are and where you need to send help when there's really not any landmarks around to be found," Noak said.

The Austin Police Department has also kickstarted its "no refusal" initiative in partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation, which means more officers will be out on the road looking out for drunk drivers. 

The efforts will be split in two, with a focus on making traffic stops and gathering evidence on DWI arrests. The initiative runs from March 3 through March 19.

ATCEMS mentioned every agency has the same message when it comes to people staying safe and encouraged everyone to be vigilant. 

"We want you to not drive distracted, not drive under the influence of any alcohol or any other substances," Noak said. "We want you to be safe, have fun, enjoy the great outdoors, the great city that Austin is."

Kelsey Sanchez on social media: Facebook | Twitter

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