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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Signs Save Lives!

05/10/2012

Firefighter Jamie Richards and West Mids Ambulance Service Manager Duncan Parsonage

Staffordshire residents are being urged by the emergency services to ensure their house names and numbers are clearly identifiable.

“We’re asking Staffordshire’s residents to take the time to check their homes clearly display the property name or number."

Head of Risk Reduction for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Glynn Luznyj

This comes following a number of incidents across the county where emergency services personnel have struggled to immediately find properties when responding to incidents, due to property numbers or names not being clearly displayed.

Emergency services personnel responding in more rural areas of the county also face difficulty locating some farms, particularly ones which cannot be seen from the road and have no signage at the end of driveways.

A new safety postcard called ‘Signs Save Lives’ is being distributed to highlight the need for clear numbers or property names to identify properties in Staffordshire.

Head of Risk Reduction for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Glynn Luznyj said: “Many of the farms in the county are in very remote locations often covering huge areas of land. The farm buildings are usually the only buildings for miles and some aren’t visible from roads and have miles of driveway before you reach the actual farm buildings, so it is essential that farms are clearly identifiable from the road.

“If farms have multiple entrances, it is important that farmers ensure appropriate signage is in place at all entries. It isn’t necessarily someone familiar with the area who could be calling in an emergency so if they can see the name of a farm clearly displayed to relay to us it helps us greatly in locating the incident as quickly as possible.”

It isn’t just remote areas where firefighters and other emergency services staff face problems; there have been incidents in residential areas where a large proportion of terraced houses are not numbered at all or house name plaques have weathered and become unreadable.

Glynn added: “It isn’t necessarily obvious which the affected property is, as not all house fires for example are blazing infernos that can be seen for miles. Our Fire Control will always ask the caller, if they’re an occupant of the affected house, to wait outside if they can get out safely, primarily for their own safety but also to help us out as that makes it obvious from a distance which house we need to stop at.

“If it is that the occupant cannot get out this makes it all the more important that we can quickly locate the correct house, as if we need to carry out a rescue we want that to be as soon as possible.

“We’re asking Staffordshire’s residents to take the time to check their homes clearly display the property name or number, or if there is a long driveway leading up to property there is appropriate signage which can be seen from the road.

“If you have any concerns about the visibility of your road signage, please inform your local authority.”

Supt Pete Owen, Head of Staffordshire Police's Operational Communications Department, said: "Staffordshire Police echoes the sentiments of our colleagues at the Fire and Rescue Service.

"It is vitally important that property numbers and names are as visible as possible and kept in a good state of repair. The easier a property is to identify the quicker we can respond to a call requesting our help.

"I would ask people to ensure their properties are easily identifiable should the emergency services ever be called to their property.”

Tips for residents:

• Do you have an outside light on your home you can turn on to illuminate the house number/name - this can be more helpful in winter months.
• If possible, can someone come out to flag down an emergency service vehicle.
• Knowing your postcode in full is helpful and you can always provide additional direction information/ land marks to control staff if the property is in a unusual location.
• If you live off a main track, approximately how far off do you live?
• Are there any distinctive features nearby? A phone box, church, post box or pub?