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First responders say home addresses need to be visible

By Kevin O’Brien

Local EMTs and firefighters can’t always find the homes they’re looking for right away due to poorly marked addresses, according to members of the Central Fire and EMS District last week.

A brief discussion about the issue came up at the end of last week’s district board meeting, when Abbotsford Ald. Roger Weideman asked about the difficulty of finding specific lots within the mobile home park on North Fifth Street in Abbotsford.

District chief Joe Mueller said finding homes in trailer courts can be tricky in more than one community within the district’s coverage area.

Mueller also noted that it was particularly hard to find homes in the village of Unity because of how the street addresses were laid out. After speaking to the village board, he said Unity officials agreed to change the street signs and also sent out letters reminding residents to clearly display their addresses.

Residents simply need to make sure their address is clearly visible from the road, especially at night, district officials said.

“Reflective letters would help,” said John Austin, battalion chief in Abbotsford.

Other business

_ The board approved a total of $22,056 in monthly bills.

_ Mueller told the board that the district may still receive a FEMA grant to help with the purchase of SCBA (selfcontained breathing apparatus), even though it was not listed among the recipients on the federal agency’s website.

The district hired a grant writer last year to apply for the FEMA grant, which would be used to replace SCBAs that are expiring at the end of this year.

Mueller said he’s heard from other local fire chiefs that FEMA is way behind schedule on announcing all of its grant recipients, so the district may still be in the running.

“One way or another, we’ll get a notice,” he said.

_ In a related matter, Mueller said he spoke to someone who may be able to provide the district with SCBA bottles at half their regular price, but it’s unclear at this point if they will meet standards set by the National Fire Prevention Association. He said all of the bottles are made at the same plant, but the district may be required to buy specific brandname bottles that match the tanks.

_ The board approved a motion to upgrade the ambulance cot on a med unit stationed in Colby, at a cost of $2,500. Part of the cost will be covered by a $1,500 grant from Abby Bank’s Abbotsford Story foundation.

_ Board chairman Larry Oehmichen said the district will be getting price quotes from insurance providers for the board to consider at its next meeting.

_ The district responded to 55 ambulance calls and three fire calls between Sept. 19 and Oct. 17. The total yearly ambulance calls was at 583 by Oct. 17.