On Monday, March 23, a car traveling on Loop 165 narrowly escaped disaster when the EMS paging tower fell across the roadway.
The tower, which handles the interpersonnel paging for the Blanco EMS and Volunteer Fire Department, fell as a crew from ERF Wireless/Momentum worked to repair it.
Tim Gibbons, EMT with the Bulverde-Spring Branch EMS department, who has been working with the Blanco Volunteer Ambulance Corps. said that the tower fell and just barely missed the car. “We are glad that no one was injured.”
When asked if the downed tower would interrupt service, Gibbons replied, “The system has already been tested and is operational.”
Mike Montz, Mike Rios, and Laird Franzen, all with ERF, were working to move the broken tower out of the way and were assessing the damage to the tower.
Montz said that because of the condition of the tower, it would most likely need to be replaced.
He said that getting the parts could take anywhere from a few days to a week or so.
Bobby McClung, Executive with ERF Wireless, stated that ERF Wireless was working on the tower prior to it falling, in an effort to help the EMS prolong the use of the tower. The tower needed repairs and the crew was also working to stabilize the tower.
Anchors that hold guide wires that support the tower were being replaced, and when the crew went to move the guide wires from an old anchor to a new anchor, the guide wires got away, and the tower fell.
Initially the wind was considered to be part of the reason it fell, however, the tower fell into the wind, so that scenario was ruled out.
According to Bobby McClung, ERF was able to attach the paging system to a tower on the other side of the building, so the BVAC paging system is fully operational which gives them time to research and decide the best course of action for replacing the tower.
The fallen tower had no effect on the county’s 911 service and there was no interruption in service. The tower served as a way to communicate with members of the EMS and fire department who live farther out in the area surrounding Blanco. The tower allows volunteers to receive pages for calls rather than having to listen to scanners to get information.