Ambulance driver had trouble finding Carbonear pool

By Craig Westcott
November 24, 2023 Edition

Despite efforts the past few years to get all householders in Carbonear to post their street numbers on the front of their houses, emergency responders are still having trouble sometimes finding people who have called for an ambulance.

The issue of civic numbering, which has come before council on several occasions, got another airing at last week’s regular public meeting.

Referring to a letter the Town received on the subject, councillor Danielle Doyle asked if the municipal enforcement officer is following up with property owners who haven’t complied with the regulation “so we can start singling them out in efforts to try to help?”

Chief administrative officer Cynthia Davis confirmed a list has been compiled of houses that do not have their civic numbers displayed. “There’s a circular being dropped off at those properties just as a reminder that civic numbers are required,” she said. “So, we’re hoping that in response to that there will be a lot more people who will have the numbers placed on their houses, and I guess we’ll see what happens from there.”

Doyle said she was at the Carbonear swimming pool one evening when the ambulance was called, and the driver had trouble finding the facility. “They didn’t take the right exit on the ramp in order to get to the pool,” Doyle explained. “Are conversations being held with the emergency groups themselves, are our current maps being sent to them, to better collaborate and communicate these services?”

Davis said there are maps that can be shared with the emergency responders, but she appeared stymied as to why the ambulance went astray on that particular evening. “We’ve actually got quite a big sign on the pool and recreation complex,” she noted. “I’m not sure what else we can do besides actually have it numbered. I mean, they’ll know if they are on Valley Road and the civic (number) is on it, if they’re going to the pool. Again, we have this massive sign there on the highway that gives you direction. Obviously if there is something else we could do, we’d certainly do it to assist. I’m just not sure what that would be.”

Doyle said the incident that night didn’t involve a critical emergency. “But it was still an incident where ambulance services were required,” she said. “And I just thought, ‘How can we do this better?'”

Councillor Chris O’Grady reminded the chamber that a couple of years ago the Town sent in GPS coordinates of its facilities to the emergency response services.

“Yes, that’s what they call the ‘next generation 911,’” Davis said. “And from my understanding, that is still being worked on. This has to be done by every municipality in the province. We have provided all our information and I believe there has been interaction between the Town and the agency doing that. So, I think they’ve got our information and we’re pretty well done, but that has to be done with every community so it probably will still be a little while before that’s onstream. I’m not sure how long.”

O’Grady pointed out the ambulance service these days has become “quite diversified” in terms of its workers, “so we’re getting drivers from way outside of our region who may not know our town,” he said. “That’s probably where the problem is.”

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