HELP US HELP YOU: Calliope Ambulance Station officer in charge John Hodson-Gilmore.
HELP US HELP YOU: Calliope Ambulance Station officer in charge John Hodson-Gilmore. Contributed

Calliope paramedic's plea: 'Help us help you'

IN A medical emergency, seconds can mean the difference between life and death.

That's why paramedics need to be able to get to your house as quickly as possible.

But Calliope Ambulance Station officer in charge John Hodson-Gilmore says that is not always possible, due to a problem that is all too preventable - ambulance drivers are sometimes unable to find the right property from the road due to houses not being clearly numbered.

Mr Hodson-Gilmore said the consequences could be dire.

"Please don't put us in a situation where we are circling your street knowing a patient is close by and desperately needs us, but we're unable to get to them to help," he said.

"Some houses have no number at all, which makes it extremely difficult to locate patients quickly.

"Other street numbers are frequently too small, non- reflective to light and can be situated in various locations such as on the side of buildings, rather than on the residence's letter box."

Mr Hodson-Gilmore said residents living out of town should also make sure rural property numbers were facing the right way so they could be read from the road, and regularly check they had not been pushed over or otherwise obstructed.

He also asked people whose driveways could be difficult to access due to vegetation or rough terrain to let emergency service dispatchers know before an ambulance arrives.

"Understandably when dialling Triple Zero (000), callers are focused on the emergency unfolding in front of them," he said.

"But it is crucial to proactively identify and relay to (the dispatcher) if an ambulance may have issues entering a rural driveway, whether that's due to size or roughness of the track."

When visiting a friend, having prior knowledge of the house number wherever you are is also vital to helping emergency services, he said.

Mr Hodson-Gilmore also recommended downloading the Emergency+ phone app to save critical time in a roadside emergency.

"If you're not sure where you are, you can read the GPS coordinates to the Emergency Medical Dispatcher," he said.

House numbers should be:

  • About 1m off the ground
  • 10cm tall or larger
  • Reflective to light
  • Not covered by long grass, mould or dirt


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