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Newtown’s Emergency Service Personnel: ‘Help Us Help You … Mark Your Property’

Published: June 10, 2019 at 07:00 am

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Imagine a dark and rain-drenched evening. Suddenly, there is a medical, fire, and/or police emergency at your home or business. You call 911 and speak with a dispatcher, who gathers all the information needed for the responders to answer your call, including your address.

You wait for what seems to be an eternity and then the phone rings. This time it’s the Communications Center calling you, because first responders cannot find your location. The dispatcher asks, “Is your house/business number on the mailbox or on your home/business? What identifies your home/business from others?”

Dispatchers at Newtown Emergency Communications Center (NECC) and members of Newtown Police Department, Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and the town’s five volunteer fire companies are all asking residents to assist them.

This scenario plays out several times during the course of a dispatcher’s shift, and it can be very frustrating. Dispatchers have technology that can assist them, but what is one of the most important elements comes from the public: clearly marking property so that it can be easily located.

Placing house numbers where they are visible from the street so that any first responders trying to find a location can do so is paramount.

First responders often go to a business at night, after hours, and need to locate a rear entrance… but none of the rear doors are marked.

Similarly, responding to a complex with multiple suites can be equally challenging if every suite is not clearly marked.

Newtown’s emergency services personnel are asking all residents and business owners to take a good, hard look at their home or business.

“If you had to respond to your home could you find it with no issues?” challenges Maureen Will, director of NECC. “Is your house number on the mailbox, and if the box is across the street from your home, is there an indicator letting responders know that the house is across the street?

“Is your house number visible from the roadway? Can it be seen at night if there are no lights illuminating the number except for a spot light from an emergency vehicle? If you are a business with a rear or side entry, is your business name on the door or suite number?” she added.

Fortunately, everything needed to help first responders find locations quickly and efficiently can be found right in town, at Newtown Hardware.

Reflective numbers and signs, mailboxes, and even planters and spray paint can be found at the locally owned business at 61 Church Hill Road (which, yes, is clearly marked).

“Even large rocks near driveways can be spray painted white, with your house number in the center,” Ms Will suggested. “A large decorative planter can have reflective numbers put on them and strategically placed on your property so it’s visible from the roadway.

“There are many creative ways to enhance the ability for responders to locate your property and still keep the aesthetics pleasing to the eye,” she said. “The communications staff at the NECC and all our responders thank you for taking the time to help us help you.”

 

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