ROUND ROCK, Texas — The Round Rock Fire Department is trying to predict when and where incidents will happen, before emergency calls are made. It is connecting with community groups to do it.
Fred Clark may be retired, but he said he is not retired from life. During his free time, the 70-year-old helps others seniors in need or those living with disabilities, as the founder of Round Rock Helpers.
“We help them with grab bars, wheelchair ramps as needed, smoke detector batteries changed, keep them safe in their homes. We also work on minor home maintenance,” Clark said.
On Wednesday he was helping 62-year-old Rosalinda Beltran with yard work around her Round Rock home. Clark and other volunteers have already cleared her yard of broken branches and leaves. They plan to replace the gate around a deck in her backyard and patch up some of the foundation to keep vermin out.
Beltran is living with rheumatoid arthritis and is homebound. Several organizations want to make sure she is taken care of.
“They’re such good-hearted people that come out and do that,” Beltran said. “When you’re not able to do something you were able to do before and there’s resources and organizations out there.”
Making the connection is part of the Round Rock Fire Department’s larger effort to reduce risk by taking a hard look at the data and analyzing when and where calls are made. Fire officials found that many calls are from seniors.
“There are other organizations out there that are better suited for those types of resources. They already exist. That’s what their missions are set up for, and we just kind of want to connect those needs to those resources,” said Assistant Chief Billy Wusterhausen of the Round Rock Fire Department.
In a way, the fire department is predicting incidents before they even happen. Fire officials said they hope to come up with unique solutions to different neighborhoods. For example, they can determine how to improve response times, create better infrastructure, or decide where the next fire station will go.
“We want to be able to visit our residents in a good environment - just visiting with them in the living room as opposed to having to bring in a stretcher or a fire hose,” Wusterhausen said. “If we can get out there and prevent those emergencies from occurring that provides a better environment, a better quality of life for our residents, and it’s safer for our firefighters.
Fire officials said if incidents can be predictable, then they can be preventable.
If anyone knows a senior who could benefit from the services of Round Rock Helpers, call (512) 450-4398.