Help Emergency Personnel Help You

We spend a lot of time helping companies make their workplaces safer and helping their team members be better prepared for emergencies. In the age of remote and hybrid work, though, we also need to consider safety and emergency responses at home. Every second counts in an emergency, and that’s not when you want to discover that firefighters or EMTs can’t find your home or can’t fit in your driveway.

Let’s take a look at some best practices to help emergency personnel respond quickly and efficiently:

Can they find you? Is your address clearly posted at the end of your driveway? Can it be seen from both directions? Are there digits missing, or is the sign or mailbox overgrown with plants? If the house numbers are on your home, can they be seen at night? Put yourself in the position of a driver trying to find your house for the first time.

What’s in the way? Is there a gate or other obstruction blocking the driveway? Make sure it can be easily opened so as not to waste precious minutes. If vehicles park on your street, do your best to make sure they maintain enough distance from your driveway entrance to allow large equipment to make the turn into the driveway.

Check the clearance. All those trees and other plantings look great and provide some privacy, but they keep growing, also. Many fire trucks are 8 to 10 feet wide. Keep everything trimmed back so there are no impediments to a large vehicle getting to your house.

Check overhead. Fire trucks are tall also, and box-style ambulances can approach 10 feet in height. Regularly assess overhanging branches and other vegetation and trim as necessary.

That sinking feeling. If you have a gravel or stone driveway, be certain that it’s in good condition and can support the weight of a larger vehicle, especially in warmer weather when the ground is likely to be wet and soft. An ambulance or fire truck that’s mired in mud can’t help you.

Room to turn around. For longer driveways, adequate space near the house for an ambulance to turn around will allow for a faster exit.

Time saves lives, and a little effort spent in making sure your home is easily found and accessible can make a big difference in an emergency.

Questions about emergency preparedness or safety training? Contact Heart to Beat.

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