Commonwealth Journal

August 13, 2013

Garland Bend residents air concerns about emergency response times

Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — The roads in southern Pulaski County can get a little confusing — which could make a difference in a life-or-death situation.

On Monday, citizens from the area visited county officials hoping to change that.

A group of about 20 individuals appeared in the Pulaski County Fiscal Courtroom to address their concerns about potential confusion in finding specific addresses in the area of Lakeview Avenue, west of Garland Road.

This could be problematic in the event of an emergency — or even something as simple as delivering mail to the right address.

Still, making sure emergency responders getting to an address in a timely manner was the primary focus of the meeting. Serving as a de facto spokesperson for the group, citizen Mary McDonald referenced an incident in late June on a private dock in the Garland Bend Road area, where a Lily, Ky., man was fatally electrocuted while in the water.

“We have a lot of weekenders from Ohio that bring a lot of family and grandchildren,” said McDonald. “... We just want to prevent this from happening again.”

McDonald said that better signage is needed — she used the intersection of Lakeview Avenue with roads like Rebecca Road, Danny Drive and Miller Lane as examples — and is concerned that pranksters may be stealing signs in the area.

“Our main objective here is to help emergency personnel — fire department, life squad, EMS, whomever — just to ask what can we do to help you all find us?” said McDonald. “The day of (the accident), they went to the ramp, and somebody told them a wrong way. I don’t know if it would have made any difference, but the response time ... We don’t know. We’ve had signs stolen and maybe people don’t know where we’re at.”

Tateville Fire Chief Jim Howard said that some units from the rescue squad had to come around the other direction by boat, but responders were there, and it took his firefighters about eight minutes to get there.

McDonald stressed that her group was not here “on the attack,” but rather to work together with county personnel in finding a solution and ask for suggestions.

McDonald added that Google maps has the wrong address listed for some people, and that with 284 houses back in the Garland Bend area, not all of them with mailboxes, it’s hard to be sure if they all have addresses.

Tiger Robinson, Pulaski County Public Safety Director, suggested making a call off of a landline whenever possible, to help 911 establish a base address through the call. Even if an initial call is made on a cell phone, he noted, it’s a good idea to get to a specific address and make a call from there when you can in the event of an emergency. Robinson suggested callers ask 911 what address pops up on their system, and if it’s correct.

Said Sheriff Todd Wood, “We don’t expect you to lose two minutes and run back in your house. Call on your cell phone. We just want to make sure we have it set up to where you say, ‘I’m at this address,’ and it goes into their system, that they’re sending us to the right place.”

He also added that responders don’t use the Google Map system for finding locations, but GPS loaded with their own information.

“There’s a gray Toyota that goes around to each place and marks the addresses,” he said.

Robinson said if an individual can’t get through to 911, they can also call 606-679-3200.

Another concern was about roads that have different names at different points along the way — a slight bend in the road, and suddenly it’s a new address. One example is that the same approximate stretch of road all shares the names Lakeview Avenue, Danny Drive, and Miller Lane at various points, with very little difference in the streets, according to the citizens.

“The intersection where you’re coming in and go all the way around Lakeview (Avenue), it ends where Danny Drive comes in,” said citizen Danny Sanders. “The sign says ‘Miller,’ is all it says. If they’re coming around Lakeview, it’s going to be very confusing where to go. Way I understand it is, it turns into Miller (Lane) if you go right, it’s Danny (Drive) if you go on out. But if you go on the other end of Miller, I think that sign is going to say South Lakeview. ... Where it changes, I don’t know.

“It’ll tell you one thing,” he added in a humorous moment, “there’s a mailbox going across through there (where) this guy is covering all his bases. He’s got a Lakeview address a.k.a. Miller.”

McDonald suggested putting a t-sign, or street sign, there to differentiate those three, but with concerns that the sign could be stolen, Judge-Executive Barty Bullock suggested the poles may need to be higher.

“We can work on road signs,” said. Bullock. “That’s not a problem. We can work with you guys, and if there needs to be one pole with three different signs on it with arrows pointing, we can do that, and raise them up as well.”

Another option is simply clearing up the problem through subtraction.

“What if we made the whole road Lakeview (Avenue) and did away with all these little names, all the way around?” said Bullock.

“We need to come down there, drive through the area, and see if any of the roads can change, or eliminate some of those roads,” he added. “We can meet with someone down there ... look at the whole area and eliminate some stuff. ... We’re here for you.”