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In a life or death situation, mere minutes can make all the difference. Imagine that you or someone in your household finds themselves in an emergency situation. You dial 911, an ambulance is dispatched to your home, but because your address is not clearly marked the emergency medical services personnel (EMS) cannot get to you on time.
One might think that in this day and age of GPS technology, such a scenario is implausible, but you would be wrong.
“In our county many of the roads are not marked, and many of the houses are not marked with the street number,” said Emory Kidd of Emergency Management.
Tony Richey of the Barren-Metcalfe Ambulance Service furthered explained the predicament.
“Many of the people who work for the ambulance service do not live in the county and do not have a working knowledge of all of the roads in the county,” Richey said. Those out of county employees do it know the landmarks and locations that locals use to frequently describe their location.
With an influx of people into the area like the county has not seen is some time, there are even residents who can not describe the location of their homes in terms that the ambulance drivers can interpret.
“And you cannot count on GPS.”
Richey says that on numerous occasions, because the coordinates used for addresses are inaccurate, GPS has lead them to open fields rather than homes.
In some cases, the mailboxes are marked but not adequately so.
“Sometimes they are marked on just one side. Sometimes the numbers are too small, and if that is the case and it is 2 o’clock in the morning you can’t see them,” said Richey.
He added that many times on rural roads the mailboxes are located a mile from the actual residence, posing another problem.
Also, with many people having P.O. Boxes rather than mailboxes, many of the rural, backroads residents have no indicators at all to mark the address. If the residence cannot be scene from the road there is no way of knowing there is a residence located in that area.
Richey and Kidd both stress that you do not have to have a mailbox in order to mark the address appropriately.
If you do have a mailbox, place bold reflective numbers on both sides that are at least four inches tall, preferably five.
If you don’t, a 4 x 4 post with the same size of reflective numbers of your address on each side will suffice.
The cost of suiting your mailbox or post appropriately is $10-$20, but in some instances your local fire department can help.
The ambulance service says they cannot stress the importance of this enough.
“That is our lifeline for finding folks, it’s about how much you value your life,” Richey said.
If you have any questions as to how or where to locate the numbers call the Metcalfe County Judges Office 270-432-3181 and ask someone will be able to assist you.