Golden Fire Rescue can only respond to calls for service as well as they are reported.
Without proper direction, the fire department can find themselves on the wrong end of town, at no fault of theirs, explains fire Chief Dave Balding. When someone calls for emergency services, it is important that they have the address correct, and that includes streets, avenues, and the direction north or south in Golden. For example, 14th Street South is a seven-minute drive from 14th Street North, and those seven minutes could be life altering for someone in serious medical condition. Without the proper address, fire services could be headed in the complete wrong direction.
“I would suggest that residents become familiar with the street number or name,” Balding said. “If we can’t find you, we can’t help you.”
Mike Pecora said the fire department has already had nearly a dozen calls that have directed them to the wrong location in 2018 alone.
Occasionally, the problem is that buildings are addressed on the wrong side of the building.
“If you’re unsure, contact the Town,” Balding said.
Another useful thing residents can do to ensure they are found in the case of emergency is to leave their contact number with the 911 operator, who will pass it along to the emergency services required. The 911 operators are not based in Golden, and may not be familiar with the landscape.
A recent call the fire department responded to was a man in a cardiac emergency. The fire department and the ambulance both drove around trying to locate the address, which was incorrectly reported.
“Fortunately, we were able to track it down. It took us about 20 minutes,” Pecora said.
When residents are reporting emergencies, it is very helpful to stay on the scene, in case the fire department or other emergency services require further information. Especially with emergencies on the highway or out of town. Balding says if the department ends up on a “wild goose chase” out of town, it pulls resources available in town to deal with it.
“Part of the problem is if there’s a genuine emergency, precious time is ticking by,” he added.
Knowing your correct address might seem trivial, but it is important information to be sure of. Anyone who is unsure if the address on their building is correct should contact the Town of Golden. In the winter, snow banks pose another challenge for emergency services. Ensuring the number is visible and high enough from the ground can help emergency services locate the address quicker. If the number is low or not clearly displayed, it can get covered in snow and pose visibility issues.
In the face of emergency, knowing the address is key information. Other information like emergency contacts, and any prior medical records can help too. Many modern cell phones have emergency call and information available from the lock screen. Knowing how to install this information and properly use the service can come in handy when a person is experiencing a medical emergency, or another person is trying to assist them. Pecora suggests people take a look at the device they probably carry with them every day to see if the services are available on their device.