Addressing problems delay emergency response time
Colorado State Patrol Regional Communications Manager Lynette Stieb-Sorensen is blunt about a problem that has faced the Colorado State Patrol dispatch office for about nine years.
“Addressing in Moffat County stinks,” she said.
The lack of a uniform addressing system and the fact many people don’t place addresses on their homes has caused delays in the response time of emergency personnel, she said.
People, especially in new subdivisions, give themselves their own addresses, often confusing dispatchers and anyone new to the area.
The solution is simple, Stieb-Sorensen said. People should post addresses where first responders can see them day or night. That means placing address numbers on the front of a house or at the beginning of a driveway.
“If the address is not posted or visible, what good is that doing us?” she said.
Stieb-Sorensen has been working with the Moffat County Board of Commissioners and the Moffat County Planning Commission to solve the problem. The ideal solution would be a building requirement that addresses are posted before a home or business is approved.
“We need to find out if we have that authority,” she said.
Commissioners are working with County Attorney Tom Thornberry to find a solution.
In the meantime, Stieb-Sorensen urges people to look closely at their homes and make sure homes are clearly marked with numbers large enough to see from the street.
“Taking the time to mark the location of your home or business may save the lives of you, your loved ones, your home or business,” she said.
Stieb-Sorensen said there have been several occasions where officers have been dispatched to an unknown or unfamiliar address and have not been able to locate the origin of the call.
The problem has escalated with recent construction of a subdivision off a private road where owners have given the subdivision its own address.
“That’s what brought this issue to a head,” Stieb-Sorensen said, “but we’ve been working on it forever.”
Because of the confusion, the dispatch office is relying on responders who have lived in the area for several years.
“Thank God for those who have been here for a long time and know where these people live,” she said. “We’re really depending on people to take responsibility for themselves and their families. We can do so much for them before they need to help us.”