Press-Republican

Local News

January 10, 2014

911 awareness called crucial

MALONE — Franklin County Emergency Services is asking the public to make house numbers more visible to ensure help arrives at the right address — and as quickly as possible.

A recent rash of chimney collapses and responses to other emergencies brought to light the need for a reminder to property owners that they should display their property numbers prominently so firefighters and rescue personnel can find them.

Deputy Director John Bashaw II said some numbers are posted too low and are blocked by high snowbanks this winter.

Others are not easily visible because dark letters are used on a dark background color.

The 911 dispatchers handle about 65,000 calls every year in Franklin County and will soon take on all calls made to Saranac Lake, Paul Smiths and Essex County’s Town of St. Armand (Bloomingdale), he said.

“There aren’t any real problems. This is more of just a friendly reminder for people,” he said. “We just wanted to get something out to educate the people.”

He suggests using reflective tape or paint on house numbers so they will show up when a light is shone on them at night.

“Some fire departments sell reflective signs as a fundraiser, so check with your fire department to see,” Bashaw said.

The 911 address should be posted at the driveway’s entrance because mailboxes are not always marked clearly either, he said.

HOW TO MAKE 911 CALL

Bashaw said that knowing when to call 911 is just as important as knowing how to do it.

If law-enforcement officers, firefighters or emergency-medical technicians are needed right away, or “if you’re unsure if your situation is an emergency, call 911,” he said.

And he offered these tips:

▶ Listen to and answer the questions asked. This helps the dispatcher understand and assist with the emergency until the appropriate authorities arrive.

▶ Stay calm, and answer all questions, no matter how irrelevant they may seem.

▶ Know where the emergency is, such as the town and county, because wireless 911 calls may be coming into dispatch from a different 911 service area.

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