Rockbridge County uses location device to find those lost or injured

ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va.- – First responders in Rockbridge County now have an easier time finding people who get lost. Typically, 911 operators are the first to get the call for help.

Now, a computer program is helping save lives faster. It's called Avenza Maps.

Rockbridge 911 supervisor Cathy Cochran said it's useful in finding people during emergency situations.


"Just last week, we had a lost canoe that was found. And the gentleman was on the trail and he didn't know exactly where he was. We used the information that I got and give it to them and they were able to pinpoint him and go through somebody's backyard," Cochran said. 

When a 911 call comes in, the map finds the caller's location through the phone's cell signal and sends it directly to this map on their computer.

The coordinates are handed over to Rockbridge County Fire and Rescue.

"We type those coordinates in and it gives us a location. Then we can pin that location, studying and figure out where our access points are going to be so that we can have a coordinated effort to get all our units to the spot," said Kevin Moore.

Rockbridge County Fire and Rescue learned about the software from the U.S. Forest Service. It was also used to determine the size of the recent Tye River Fire.