Stroke victim waits 18 min for EMS, wants solution
WEST FELICIANA PARISH - Every second counts when it's a matter of life or death, and for one St. Francisville man, waiting 18 minutes for the paramedics to arrive, is a problem.
Last year, when Ewen Ritchie had a mini-stroke, firefighters arrived 10 minutes after the call was placed, while EMS could not find the home.
"That had to be the most terrifying experience of my entire life, and I didn't know if I would get help," said his wife, Jessie Ritchie.
Several home addresses in West Feliciana are out of order, causing confusion among the community and in this case, first responders.
Aware of the problem, in its mapping system, the 911 center has flagged these home numbers as "out of order" and provides brief instructions of how to get there.
Capt. Ralph Ladnier who oversees the 911 operations center says it's a quick fix, but doesn't beat having an organized addressing system.
"For public safety it is the best thing that can happen," said Ladnier.
The Ritchie's have changed their address since that frighting night one year ago, but they're hoping the parish makes it a requirement.
"Does somebody have to die before they come to their senses?" asked Ritchie.
West Feliciana Parish President Kevin Couhig says he does not plan to make the address changes mandatory. Instead he advises those who call 911, to give dispatchers clear instructions, if they happen to live at an address that's not easy to find.