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ESDs put Travis County Commissioners to the test in 911 response simulations

Travis County Commissioners were put to the test on Wednesday to see how they can respond to the type of emergencies that Travis County’s Emergency Services Districts are often asked to respond to. (CBS Austin)

Travis County Commissioners were put to the test on Wednesday to see how they can respond to the type of emergencies that Travis County’s Emergency Services Districts are often asked to respond to.

From vehicle extrication to putting out fires, commissioners got to see what county first-responders go through daily, including County Judge Sarah Eckhardt.

"This is a real calling, and what' so gratifying is to see these men and women and how dedicated they are to helping others," Eckhardt said.

Over the last several decades, much has changed in Travis County.

"We're not rural anymore, because we have become a very urbanized county with a lot of wild land -- an urban wild land interface,” Eckhardt said.

"Because of the growth in Travis County, it became a need to switch from a volunteer organization to a more paid organization,” Lake Travis Assistant Fire Chief Adam Lear said.

He says county funding allows them to work more efficiently when they respond to calls.

“When we do get a larger scale wild land fire [or] a larger scale incident, we're all able to work pretty seamlessly with each other,” Lear said.

Travis County is made up of 13 ESD’s, which are responsible for more than 1,000 square miles of land, and are even called to assist other departments outside Travis County when help is needed.

"It's important to understand first hand because we're funding it in great measure, so we need to know best where to spend those resources,” Eckhardt said.

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