While responding to a fire just the other night, we turned on the street and started looking for addresses. Immediately, I grabbed the spotlight and began to shine the houses. I found the even numbers to be on the left and the odd numbers to be on the right. As we make our way down the street I began to notice some houses had numbers and some didn’t, but I was not worried because using logic the numbers will correspond with each other and I should have no problem. Well, that could not have been further from the truth. As we arrived at the dwelling I believed to be the structure on fire I gave my size up and got out of the truck to confirm it was the actual address( As I have many times before ). As I stepped off of the truck a man was running down the street saying ” down here down here”. As this was taking place the second and third due units started to arrive. As the third due arrived onto the street they happened to be pulling right in front of the correct location. They arrived on scene and passed command. As I made my way down the street ( frustrated of course ) but trying to stay in the game, I started to notice that the numbers where out of order. We made it to the scene and there was a patient in the front yard needing attention. My driver took care of the water supply and my firefighter and I conducted patient care. While giving patient care, I was able to ask the family member of the sick party what the physical address was. He gave me the address and then went on to explain that the house in question was one of the first houses in the neighborhood and was numbered from the very beginning and as other houses where built and new streets added houses became numbered out of sequence. That did not make me feel any better, but it did put several things on my mind.
- Never get complacent thinking you know your first due area. It changes more than you think
- Get out in your first due and update your map book address, hydrant locations, and anything else that does not make sense to you. i.e. things you may deem special hazards
- Hold off on giving a size up until you have confirmed that you are at the right location
These are some lessons that I wanted to share that I learned the hard way. I have run a few calls being on several different departments and never imagined this happening to me. We must strive everyday to make sure the little things that we become complacent at doing do not cost the people we serve or even worse, ourselves, any harm.