Address errors slowing emergency response
NEW ROADS - Nearly half the people in Pointe Coupee Parish don't have their address properly labeled, according to a recent study conducted by LSU.
Emergency responders say it slows their response times and puts lives in danger.
"In our line of work the seconds add up to minutes and those minutes could cause great bodily harm or death in some instances," said Mark Ward, Assistant Director of Homeland Security for the Pointe Coupee Sheriff's Office. "So our biggest thing is being able to readily identify those residents so we can get there in a timely manner."
Parish leaders were shocked and disappointed by the data, calling the numbers unacceptable. They also responded with a new campaign, "Label Up for Emergency 911." They hope it encourages people to properly label their homes and businesses.
"People need to wake up and realize that this is a very important thing and it may one day save their life or the life of someone they love," said Police Jury President Melanie Bueche.
Fire crews say the missing numbers can cause serious time delays.
"Going to an emergency call, that little bitty number we cannot pick that up," said Chief Ashley Bonds, Pointe Coupee Fire District 3. "They have some mailboxes that don't have any numbers, none whatsoever."
The lack of proper address labels forces crews to often miss the house, call dispatch for further direction, or even ask people to wave them down.
Parish leaders recently changed the law so that people who do not comply receive a fine.
"It's imperative they get this done," Bueche said. "If they do not do it within a reasonable amount of time there will be a $50 fine."
The money will go toward purchasing numbers for the home.