SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


House Numbers: When you need help,
can emergency responders find your home?


November 18, 2008

Ketchikan, Alaska - If you need help, can those providing assistance find you?

North Tongass Volunteer Department Chief Dave Hull said, "A KPU employee stopped in to see me Monday morning at Fire Station 8. He was concerned about a recent request for assistance he responded to over the weekend." Hull said, "As it turns out, it took his KPU crew almost a half an hour to find the residence experiencing trouble with their electricity. Why? No house numbers. He wondered what could have happened had that been a real emergency. What could have happened indeed?"

Hull said while it is relatively easy to find a house on fire on a dark and stormy night, it is not so easy to find a person having a heart attack if the house they are living in is not readily identifiable. "If you received a phone call from the "Millionaires Club" AND they had one million dollars to give you BUT they only had five minutes to find you, could you tell them how to get to your house in time? Could you tell KPU if your lights went out? Could you tell us?" asked Hull.

"There are too many residences out North with little in the way of telling emergency responders, or KPU personnel, that they are at the right place. Please, check your house identifiers," said Hull. "Can you readily see them at night? Is your driveway marked with your house number? Are there any outside lights to help responders stay on their feet? Is your driveway passable?"

There are a number of driveways that we simply cannot safely travel down because they are too narrow and too steep said Hull. "It becomes very critical if it is a fire engine that can't get close enough to fight a fire, but it is just as imperative if we can't get an ambulance to a person having a difficult time breathing." Hull said, "If you are just starting to build, please consider how an emergency vehicle would get to you during an emergency. Would we be able to find you? Would we be able to reach you? Could we see your new house numbers from the road?"

Hull said like KPU, the North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department stands ready to respond to your calls for help. "We understand that when you need assistance you most likely need it quickly."

You can help by doing your part to make it as easy to find your home. Providing visible home identification. If you have any questions on how to make your house more visible, call at 228-6710.

"By the way, please remember to check your smoke alarms if you forgot when we turned the clocks back. What? You don't have a smoke detector; give us a call," said Chief Hull.


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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