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Can emergency responders locate you?

Spread the word - help emergency responders find you.

Most people don’t realize how important it is to have their address posted in a place that is easily seen by emergency responders. For visitors it is even more difficult to explain where you are when you don’t know the area or the exact address of where you are located while visiting. In an emergency, stressful situations can cause confusion for anyone and you may forget things you wouldn’t normally forget, such as your address.

The same applies while out on the water. The water side of properties are totally different from the land side. Many times docks that are side by side are addressed from completely different streets. This makes it hard for those involved in emergencies to tell emergency responders where they are, even when they are from the area, thus causing a delay for emergency workers responding to locate and provide much needed help.

Imagine being out on the water and you need emergency responders' help. How do you tell dispatchers your location? GPS is different on the water and you may not even have time to look at the GPS. You may think you can dial 911 and the operator will know exactly where you are, but this is not always the case, especially if you are using a cell phone. Wireless providers are not required to give an exact location; they only have to pinpoint your call within 300 meters of where you are and that is not 100 percent of the time.

Help emergency responders find you when you need help! Below are some tips provided by emergency responders to save response time. A few minutes saved can help save a life!

Home or business: display large address numbers that are prominent and contrast with the immediate background, such as black on white or white on black so that emergency responders - police, firefighters, ambulances - can quickly locate your business or residence. Make sure the address numbers are unobstructed; no shrubbery or other items blocking them from street view.

On the water: when emergency dispatch - including Fire/Rescue, life guards, the Florida Wildlife Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard - respond to distress calls from waterways, it is often difficult to locate the distressed party as waterways lack street or address signs and often have no visible landmarks. Boaters / distress victims are sometimes unfamiliar with the area and can't tell emergency responders where they are. Ask businesses and residential owners along waterways to post their full address (since there are no street signs) on the water side of the business / residence or on a dock or boathouse so that it is clearly visible. Large letters (at least four inches tall) in reflective materials for night visibility are encouraged.

Vacation rentals: ask owners of vacation rentals to post the full 911 address of the rental inside the residence somewhere so it is easily seen and can be given to emergency assistance personnel if needed by renters.

Senior citizens: it is always a good idea to post the 911 address in an area of the home of a senior citizen that is close to the telephone and / or easily seen.