Failure to post addresses at homes continues hindering emergency response in our area

By Anton Riecher
Failure by residents to post address numbers on either their homes or mail boxes continues to hinder emergency responders trying to find rural locations in the shortest time possible, Allegiance Mobile Health District Chief Patrick Bourcier said.

Bourcier gave his monthly report to the Medina County Emergency Services District No. 4 Board of Commissioners during their regular meeting August 2. The local ESD covers EMS service in Devine and Natalia areas.
In July, the district logged 207 calls with an average response time of seven minutes. Of those, 47 percent were reached within five minutes or less, 26 percent within six to nine minutes and 27 percent required a response time of 10 minutes or more, Bourcier said.
Of the 14 calls requiring from 13 to 17 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, the delays were mostly attributed to long distances via difficult to identify rural roads, he said.
“All were out in the county where you go seven or eight miles, sometimes 15, by the way the dirt roads go,” Bourcier said.
One unique issue noted by Bourcier involved a location on a private road unmarked on county maps. Unfortunately, the ambulance personnel drove past it before realizing the mistake.
“They ended up doing a whole loop ending in a dead end and had to come all the back around,” Bourcier said. “You can’t blame them because it’s not on the map.”
Another ambulance run experienced a delay because the house had no number posted, he said.
“Nobody came outside to see the red lights and the sirens,” Bourcier said. “So they went up and down the road until they found a house with a number on it and figured it out from that.”
In cases where the house is not easily visible from the road the number should be posted on the mailbox, he said.
Of the 207 response runs reported, 116 originated from Devine with an average response time of six minutes. Seventy-seven percent of the runs originating from Devine required a response time of up to nine minutes. Twenty-three percent required a response time of 10 minutes or more, the report states.
Of the remaining calls handled in the remaining MCESD No. 4 transport area required an average response time of eight minutes. Sixty-nine percent required a response time of nine minutes or less while 31 percent required a response time of 10 minutes or more.
Only eight calls required a request for mutual aid from a surrounding emergency district.
In other business, construction permits are being processed for the district’s new helipad with work scheduled to begin August 16.
The August treasurer’s report for MCESD No. 4 showed a beginning bank balance of $660,168, of which $192,540 is operating funds, $125,002 is savings, $237,999 in a money market account and $104,625 in a certificate of deposit. The ending balance for the period is $639,954.
Operating expenses for the month totaled $20,213, of which $17,666 went to Allegiance for the monthly service contract, the report shows.