Improving Rural Resident Safety

October 6, 2008 9:18:25 PM PDT
The Merced County Sheriff's Department is asking rural residents to take one simple step to improve their safety.Sheriff's deputies rushing to calls in rural parts of Merced County often run into a frustrating situation.

Deputy Tom Mackenzie said, "You'll come to a bank of 16, 17 mailboxes sometimes on a dairy or ranch, outlying farms, and you won't know which houses they belong to, so it makes it really difficult for us to track down and locate the house that needs our assistance."

Deputy Tom Mackenzie says the problem is many people only put their addresses on their mailboxes not their actual homes. So law enforcement, as well as ambulances and firefighters, are forced to go door to door trying to find out who's in need of help.

"A lot can happen in that extra amount of time, especially in violent confrontations, we could have prevented injuries, we could have apprehended suspects," said Mackenzie.

Al Mabry says he realized the importance of having a well-marked home when his 92 year old father was injured.

Al Mabry said, "One night he fell off of a ladder and he was hurt and he hobbled out and ended up he had a broken pelvic bone and a bunch of other stuff and he met the ambulance out in front of the house because he was afraid they wouldn't find him."

The sheriff's department says it's also helpful to put your street number on the side of your mailbox so officers and paramedics don't have to slow down to check the front of the box when they're racing to a call. Deputy Mackenzie says making sure both your mailbox and home are well marked is a cheap way to avoid paying a high price during an emergency.

Mackenzie said, "Yeah it is important to have numbers on your mailbox, it helps us narrow down the area and find it, but for an extra five bucks at Lowes, you can spray paint or stencil something on your house to let us know we're at the right place."

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