One of the greatest concerns expressed by the volunteers who work with the Henfield Area Response Team (HART) is that of not being able to find the collapsed patient quickly enough. When the heart fails, the time window available for successful resuscitation is critical and every minute spent finding the patient is a minute subtracted from this critical time window. For this very reason, HART are launching a campaign to encourage everyone in the village to consider how easy it would be for an emergency responder to find them, or their house, in an emergency – particularly with the long nights and short days that we are going to experience over winter.
Walking around the new housing developments by day it must be said that the majority of houses do have clear house numbers showing on their doors or porches. This cannot be said for some of the older parts of the village where it is not uncommon for houses to be named rather than numbered. Whilst names are quaint and add character, regrettably they are a thorn in the side of anyone who has to search for a particular house.
Next time you are out and about why not challenge yourself to identify which houses would be easy to find if you had to deliver a parcel… repeat the exercise at night and you will perhaps see the problem faced by others.
So what can be done? Illuminated house numbers or signs which are large enough to be seen clearly from the road need to be at least 15 cm (or 6 inches) in height. However they can not only be expensive but also require an electricity supply. While solar powered lights might seem to be the answer, these would not usually be powerful enough to last throughout a winter night, particularly when there is not a lot of sunshine during the day to charge them up.
A simple alternative would be to use reflective numbers or letters. These are relatively cheap, are self-adhesive and can be affixed to doors, walls, gates, and fences. But again, choose somewhere which is visible from the road so that anyone driving around at night could find the number easily. If you keep a wheelie bin in your drive way or in front of your house, this could be an ideal place to put a reflective house number. We have asked Hamfeld’s in the High Street to stock these and they are also readily available to purchase online (search for ‘wheely bin numbers’).
For those who possess a smartphone, another excellent way for you to describe your location to the emergency services is by using the ‘what3words’ app. This gives every 3m x 3m plot of land in the world a three word reference. So even if you collapse in the middle of a field, the emergency services can locate you with ease. This is especially useful for dog walkers or horse riders who might fall and be a long way from a public road. See our website for more information.
Help emergency responders, just in case, by ensuring your location is visible for 2020.
Dr Nigel Higson on behalf of HART (Henfield Area Response Team)