uhmmm look for the smoke???..lol kidding...In our district we are more city so not a big deal but even at that it happens a new home or developement pops up and nothings on map..since we installed toughbooks on rigs that are GPS and with our fire enforcement officers they are updated very quickly we also use a system in these puters that allow oic of fire to see units driving as well as talk to PD and EMS so pretty tough to miss the house when other units are there in our way..lol..
"Look for the smoke?" So we should tell the person having a medical problem to torch the car or garage? Well, out here in the sticks it has nearly come to that, on more than one occasion.
Our county is laid out in a grid numbering system, with the numbers starting at 0 on the east and north borders and continuing to 10000 at the south and west borders. If you draw an east-west or north-south line across the county, there will be properties with the same numerical address on each parallel road that crosses the line.
On east-west roads, even numbers are on the north side, odd on the south. For north-south roads, even is on the west side and odd on the east. I know my address, the address of most of the other members, and of course the fire stations so I can fairly quickly estimate a given address location in town while en route.
With the phase-in of the enhanced 911 system our county mandated that all long driveways with 3 or more houses on them be given a street name and an appropriate numerical address based on the grid system. not all residents have changed their addresses over yet but we still seem to find them OK.
All line officers and some of the apparatus carry an address book which lists the known addresses for each road. The homeowner name is also listed for reference.
We also use the green number signs, although not all residents have them yet. For houses constructed recently with lightweight materials we use a red number plate rather than green.
Knowing your district. Yes, certainly, everyone should 'know' their district. But to have Encyclopeadic knowledge of an area gets difficult as you get more streets... Admittedly I'm in suburbia, not a rural area, but there are people in my Brigade who have lived here all their lives and don't know where every street is. We all know the major roads and many of the smaller, but all of them? Nobody. However our pager alerts always give the nearest cross street as well as a street directory reference so there's no real problem. In the rural areas? The fewer the roads, the easier it is to know them all. There's one rural area I've worked with and I know all of their roads. They only have three, makes it easy really.
I just had a quick look at the street directory. Perhaps over 250 streets in our area. I'm not going to even attempt to memorise them and their location.
In our county the Sheriff 's Office/E-911 assigns the addresses. We have a county law that you are supposed to have your address posted at the end of the drive on a sign in colors that will stand out. E-911 also has like a book that describes what the house looks like, location (5th house on the right, etc.). And we carry map books in our apparatus' and pov's. The dispatchers do a great job of directing us most of the time. But we have been known to use such phrases as "turn left at the red gate", " turn on the road across from the white fence".
Going back just a few years where I work, the map books, put together and updated by the engine company was the key and typically the only reliable way to find homes. Once a year, when we do our annual hazard abatement inspections for rural areas, we have the chance to not only go to every home in our 1st in but also took the time to make notations on our map books for any significant changes or updates.
These map book pages were critical if you wanted to find an address. Not everyone is good about posting a reflective number for the address so we would use other tricks like looking for the nearest hydrant (with a blue street marker) to estimate where the house is located. Not all calls give you the proverbial "lume" from a distance. We also typically seem to have a bird dog on scene to lead us to the location if it is exceptionally difficult to locate.
Now with GIS and better technology, all of our hand drawn maps have been converted to a more accurate map that has all the structures pre identified using GPS coordinates. Down the road when we get the GIS tracking on all the engines, I am assuming that we will be able to see where we are on the map display in relation to where the address is and make any necessary corrections. All of the structures in my 1st in identified using a GPS for lat and long and are on my Garmin GPS. I did not have the patience to wait for the technolgy (and money) to come around. You may not be able to actually see the structure but if a fire is heading toward it, and you know the GPS coordinates, notifying air ops that you want the ridge behind 5442 Colson Canyon Road in conjunction with the known GPS coordinates stands a pretty good chance of getting things done, using 21st century technology...
Here is an example of a station generated map page I put together a few years back...
Failure to prepare is preparing for failure... preplanning your response is key here.
Please note that we took the time to flow the private hydrant system to give responders an idea as to how much water pressure they had, should they decide to tie into a hydrant. We also noted local terminology to describe locations along the coast where surfers are found. Four-wheel drive only roads are noted as well as anything that will help the company officer make appropriate tactical decisions. I did the mapping using photoshop, which is time consuming but accurate. Also, please note that there is a smaller area map on top of each map page to note where you are using the "big picture".
We sell reflective address signs that we make ourselves. We order the supplies in bulk and then make them at a low cost. We dont use this as a fund raiser, just getting the address where we can see them is benefit enough. We go door to door some, include in fund drive requests, local weekly paper ads etc.
In my county in S.E. Tennessee the central dispatch which most local jurisdictions contract with they use a high dollar CAD/GPS coordinate computer system for dispatch, however it's nearly impossible to get them to give nearest cross street and its on the monitor right in front of them. Its a hold over from the days of, go to the big oak tree and turn right and they don't like change here. One example is a dispatch to "Valley View Hwy.", This road runs for approx. 45 miles thru three counties but you have to force a cross street out of them. By the way, none of the dispatchers have field experience in fire, police etc. One saving grace is still being a relatively rural county, somebody on duty knows generally where a call is and occasionally the citizens in scanner land ( and thats most of the county) will call dispatch and "feed" them info that they have at their fingertips. The county has a 911 director and the whole county mapped/addressed good but he has no authority over dispatch protocol.
Hey Frank great idea....a little problem though....our district goes North for approximayely 11 miles....South for about 13 miles east for about 17 miles and west about 20 miles......You think you could learn every street, road (County Rt and State Rts) and address...?? Good luck Brother.....Paul....Actually we don't have to worry too much....Dispatcher tells us where to go and sometimes even how to get there.....LOL
Your maps look very usable Mike. But you had to go to all that effort? We just get metropolitan street directories for the urban areas and topographic (with roads and buildings) map books issued to us for the rural areas of the State. Ahh, the joys of being a state-wide fire service!
I dispatch and am fire/ems. If in a city we will give the house and street number along with any cross street if needed. When its a county call we will tell units that is house so many from a cross street. Also we try and educate the public about having house numbers being visible from the roadway. The county nor any of the cities have any requirements other than having a house number. This sucks as you know because the little 2 inch number on the house that has been painted over 4 gillion times is not something you see day or night when responding. Dispatch here does all it can in helping to locate houses for the units responding.