Clearly displaying house numbers or names can make the difference between life and death.
Matt Broad, EEAST’s operational boss in Norfolk says: “The names and numbers of many houses are concealed by trees and overgrown hedges or, worse still, no sign at all.
Even two or three minutes spent looking for a patient’s house can put them at risk. For the sake of spending a few pounds on a sign, replacing the bulb in an outside light, or five minutes cleaning or clearing around your existing numbers, it’s surely worth it.
“The problem is particularly bad in rural areas, where crucial seconds or minutes can be lost driving up and down long roads looking for addresses, which is very frustrating for crews trying to reach an emergency call.
“When you call 999, giving good directions and any helpful local landmarks can make all the difference. Don’t be surprised if the call taker asks you if someone can wait outside for the ambulance and direct them in, or if you are alone with the patient, to unlock the front door so you don’t have to leave them when help arrives.
“The technology we use in our control rooms makes it easier for us to get correct addresses, and satellite navigation on our vehicles helps crews to find their way there, but once nearby they sometimes need a helping hand to find the right house straight away”.
There are a several ways that the public can help the service better identify their location in an emergency;
Here’s how to help us find you:
- Make sure your number is large enough and in a place where it can be seen from the road
- If possible, place your house name or number on a wall or gate post next to the road as well as on the door
- Cut back foliage regularly so your number can be seen
- Ensure your number stands out – black on white or vice versa is best
- Leave hazard lights on a car parked in the drive or on the road
- Mention any local landmarks or buildings, such as a church or school etc.
- Obtain your home’s map grid reference and have it handy in case of emergency