Lowcountry firefighters asking residents for help

By Jaime Dailey - bio | email

BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC (WTOC) - When there's an emergency, firefighters are expected to respond quickly. But they are now asking for your help to help them make it to your doorstep as quickly as possible.
Firefighters are always ready at a moment's notice and in their line of work, every second counts.
"Someone who's in a medical crisis could have up to four to six minutes in order to receive medical care, within four to six minutes irreversible damage begins to take place to the brain and the body," said Burton firefighter Dan Byrne.
Although they're prepared for any emergency, one of their toughest challenges can be actually finding the right location.
"It seems when the sun goes down in the wee hours of the morning when we're trying to respond, we're talking on the radio, trying to coordinate, finding addresses that aren't plainly labeled is often a challenge, I would say, almost daily," said Byrne.
While the fire trucks are equipped with computers with electronic maps to help direct firefighters to the 911 caller, Byrne says some are tough to pinpoint especially in the rural areas of the county. 
"When you actually respond to that address, you'll find some of these are off the road, hidden by trees, not quite lined up the way they look on the screen, which at 2 a.m. can cause quite a bit of confusion," said Byrne.
He said that happens especially when homes aren't properly marked.
"[The] biggest problems we're finding are the mailboxes aren't clearly numbered, or we'll have a cluster of mailboxes on the street without any corresponding number to the house," said Byrne.
He said some homes are numbered, but sometimes the numbers are too small and can't be seen from the road. Then there are other address issues on Blue Bird Lane.
"These houses are actually a Parker Drive address but its on Blue Bird," said Byrne. "So if we got called to the house, we'd have to go around on a whole other street to find it." 
Byrne said to help them get to your doorstep as quickly as possible, they are asking for everyone's help.
"The number for your house should be on your mailbox, either on front or on both sides so it can be seen on either angle of approach," said Byrne. "You should also have numerical numbers on your home as well. The number on your house should contrast the color of your house and be at least 4 inches.
Firefighters said that as a rule of thumb - if homeowners can't see their number on their home from the road, neither can firefighters. 
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