Preparedness Corner
February, 2002
By Paul Vircsik

Hi Neighbors,

Many of the themes for this column come from real events that I have witnessed or read. I feel, as a good neighbor, some should be shared. Hopefully you will learn and grow from them. Sometimes the event that spurs this information is tragic, but if you look around our neighborhood, most of the information meant for assistance in our daily lives is because of an unfortunate incident. Stop signs, speed limits, stop lights, “check before opening”, and “follow directions”. Think about these, and why they are in place, and I am sure you will be able to come up with many more. This month’s article is just that, tragic, and avoidable. Happy new Year.

At 9pm a woman picks up the phone in the home she has lived in for 30 years and dials the seven digit emergency number for the fire department that is on the refrigerator because she is having trouble breathing. The dispatcher had to ask her address because she dialed the seven-digit number instead of 911 which has automatic address display. She is confused due to her panic but manages to get the number and street correct. Three minutes have passed. The first arriving fire engine finds the street and the house number on a mailbox, which is with several others at a convenient place for the postman. While looking for the driveway, the ambulance arrives and both are now searching. Ten minutes. The driveways are long and most have name signs but not addressed. They ask at one residence and are directed to the correct house. Lucky they were home. The engine and ambulance proceed but must stop due to the trees that have canopied the driveway and now must walk. Fifteen minutes. The door is locked so entry is made and the woman is found on the floor, unconscious, pulseless and apnec. CPR and drug therapy is administered. She died.

Moral? Following current proven methods will prevent numerous little developments that can lead to tragic, avoidable conclusions. Question: Does 911 have your address stored? Is your address number on the driveway leading to your home? Can a large wide long and tall vehicle make it all the way to your door? Will you turn on some lights, unlock the door and if possible leave it open? Are your loved pets in a secure room so emergency personnel are not threatened or the animals traumatized and run away? It happens a lot. If any of these questions are no, I suggest making changes for you and your family.

See you all soon,

Meet the author: Read about Paul Vircsik's background