CBC News Posted: 2013-03-02 at 06:32 NT
"New homes in Grand Falls-Windsor [Newfoundland and Labrador] are frequently missing an important element for emergency responders - a visible house number.
Fire Chief Vince Mackenzie said not enough homes in the town have clearly marked civic numbers.
Not having numbers makes it difficult for responders to know which home to go to, causing them to lose vital minutes or become lost.
Vince Mackenzie, fire chief in Grand Falls-Windsor, says civic numbers are important for emergency responders. (CBC)
"For the fire services, sometimes it’s relatively easy — it’s the house with the smoke coming out of it," Mackenzie said.
"But if you have a medical emergency or you have a police emergency, a home invasion or something like that, you want the forces to find you."
He said unless there is some element visible from the outside, police won’t know which home they’re looking at.
"There’s no indication from the outside that an emergency is taking place," Mackenzie said.
"It can literally be life and death, for the sake of a $20 number on your home."
Mackenzie said the problem is not isolated to Grand Falls-Windsor.
His counterparts in Conception Bay South tallied their civic numbers and found 2,000 homes were without them.
Mackenzie said numbers need to be large and visible from the street, as well as visible at night.”
Although this article is relatively specific to the Grand Falls-Windsor area in the central region of Newfoundland, the problem of houses without a civic address number displayed (or even assigned, as is the case for most rural areas) is a serious one.
As a paramedic working in rural Newfoundland, a majority of our calls are to homes/locations with no civic address. This isn’t a “could cause problems” scenario - it does cause problems! Frequently, we are delayed arriving to the patient due to poor directions and lack of identifying information on the house/property. To make matters worse, Newfoundland and Labrador doesn’t have a province-wide 911 system or a centralized dispatching centre - further complicating the process of locating the patient - for both dispatchers and EMS crews trying to get to the scene.