By STEVE BURKE
Milton Fire & Rescue

As an emergency responder, there are some things that you can do to enhance your chance of a smooth emergency response. There are some things to do now before you need help from either fire, rescue or police. First of all, an emergency never happens at a good time and it knows no age. It rarely happens on a bright sunny day in June. It is most likely going to happen in the middle of the night during a major snowstorm in January or a rain and windstorm in October when the power is out. Having this in mind, here are some things you can do now to prepare for when you need help.

Place a reflective house number on your mailbox post and a visible house number under a light on your home. Rescue has a marking system that they offer for a small cost. If you do not live right on the road and have a long driveway, this is very important. Make sure the brush is trimmed away so the numbers are visible.

Turn on the outside lights to attract attention to your house. If another person is available, send them out to flag down the responder.

Please keep your driveway and paths to the door cleared after a snowstorm; this saves valuable time. If there are vehicles parked in your driveway, please move them aside to aid the responding vehicles to get to your house. Fire trucks are very large and take up lots of space, and the ambulance will have to turn around, so as you can see this is important.

The next time you visit your primary care provider save the after visit summary; this contains very valuable information about your medical condition, allergies and medications you are taking. Please keep this and have it in a safe place such as on your refrigerator so that you can give to the EMT in the event of a medical emergency. If you have special individual requests, such as a do not resuscitate or other important information, this should be available. We certainly want to comply with your wishes but must have the documentation to make this happen.

Check your smoke/fire/carbon monoxide alarms, and replace the batteries twice a year. If the alarm goes off, get out of the house, stay out and call 911! Let the first responders determine if it is a dangerous condition or a faulty detector. Remember CO is colorless, has no smell and is a silent killer. In addition, shutting the doors after you leave in a fire situation is essential to starve the fire of air.

Call 911 and give them detailed information such as your house number and your emergency, but know the calltaker will prompt you for all the information they need. It is not helpful to tell the operator such things as the police have been here before, or I live next to John Smith and everyone knows him, or I live behind the old Smith farm. In some cases the person answering the phone is in another town or county and may never have heard of the old Smith farm.

While you are waiting for the first responder, please turn on the lights and turn the TV off. We often spend valuable time looking for the remote. The outside noise makes listening for breath sounds and blood pressure almost impossible. If you have extra people, clearing a path for a stretcher to the patient is very helpful and saves time.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in dealing with these safety tips. If you have any question about any of these suggestions please call the Milton Fire Department at 891-8080 or the Milton Rescue Department at 891-8090.