Monday, April 08, 2002
Beacons signal home emergencies
By Sarah Buehrle
TAYLOR MILL Police are responding to your 911 call. But your house numbers are not visible from the street. Police and ambulance crews are losing crucial seconds searching outside while the emergency continues inside your home.
In nearly 15 percent of the police calls in Taylor Mill, emergency response delays are created when homes don't have clearly visible address numbers, according to Police Chief Steve Knauf.
Taylor Mill is the first Northern Kentucky municipality to obtain newly developed flashing beacon lights for residents to install outside their homes to shorten police response time.
This idea was developed by the chief, with City Administrator Jill Bailey and Fire Chief Dennis Hal pin, to help responders get to those who need help more quickly.
This is basically a no-brainer, said Chief Knauf, a nine-year veteran in the job, who tested and installed a beacon light outside his own home. It just stands out big-time.
The Emergency Beacon Bulb is a 60-watt bulb with a computer chip in its base. It functions as an ordinary light until someone flips the light switch on and off twice.
The bulb then emits a flashing light that at night can be seen for up to four city blocks or nearly one mile in the country, according to Jerry Walkos, president of the bulbs' manufacturer, Response Technology Corp., based in Stafford, Va.
Ken Moser, 80, bought an Emergency Beacon Bulb because of a past emergency.
I needed to use the ambulance; my wife broke her leg once, said Mr. Moser, who lives on Taylor Mill Road. Last time, (the ambulance) went right past my house.
Mr. Moser said that having the light makes him feel more secure, though he hopes he never has to use it.
The city originally ordered 20 bulbs at $10 each, paid for out of the city's general fund. The bulbs flew off the shelves after the city's March newsletter announced their availability, Chief Knauf said.
The city ordered another 50 bulbs last week. Mr. Knauf said he would try to add money to the city's crime prevention budget to get more bulbs after July 1, the start of the city's new fiscal year.
I think it's a really important thing, said John Calhoun, president of the National Crime Prevention Council in Washington, D.C. There are both pragmatic and social reasons for it. It's easy and I think it gives people a sense of comfort.
The bulbs cost $10 for Taylor Mill residents, but are free for victims of domestic violence, those with known medical conditions and those who are in the police department's Because We Care program, a check-in program for solitary elderly Taylor Mill residents.
Mr. Walkos said the bulbs could also be used in urban neighborhoods to scare off drug dealers or for the elderly to alert neighbors if they need help.
In Ohio, Hamilton County Sheriff's office officials said they had not heard of the beacon light and did not have a program in place.
Fire Chief Halpin said his crews Taylor Mill firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians miss addresses nearly 15 percent of the time.
Chief Halpin, a fire chief for 16 years, has had trouble locating homes in emergencies, he said, citing shrubbery, subdivisions with mailboxes placed at intersections and flag homes, homes stacked behind each other, as reasons why emergency squads could lose up to 10 minutes of response time.
The more prevention you do, the better off you are.
How to get an Emergency Beacon Bulb
Where: Taylor Mill Police Department, 5227 Taylor Mill Road.
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Information: (859) 581-1192.
Miscellaneous: Non-Taylor Mill residents or those who can't make it to the police department can buy the bulb off the Internet from Response Technology Corp. at http://www.emergencybeacon.com
About the bulb
Response Technology Corp., the only U.S. manufacturer of the Emergency Beacon Bulb, has been making the bulb for three years.
60,000-100,000 Emergency Beacon Bulbs are distributed annually.
Bulbs are in use in every state.
Heaviest distribution is in Florida and Arizona.
National Crime Prevention Council endorses Emergency Beacon Bulb.
Bulb visibility in daylight: 300 yards.
Source: Response Technology Corp.
Hundreds march for peace, justice
Thomas's mother spends day in crowd's embrace
City image needs polishing
What's being written and said about Cincinnati
Friend of missing man says he saw nothing
Pro-Israel rally draws hundreds to Blue Ash
Bus cameras add to privacy debate
BRONSON: Johnny Taliban gets no pity from POW
Good News: Lunch honors volunteers
You Asked For It
Barriers planned along I-75
Clermont hires new rec director
Deerfield housing draws concern
Hamilton deciding fate of 3 buildings
Lakota school projects speed up
Schools may look to state for planning
Covington casino a long shot
Ballpark brightens Toledo's outlook
Beacons signal home emergencies
Committee to study energy
Grants provide extras in Cleveland schools
OSU area has highest crime rate in Columbus
Property dispute may have turned off Hyundai
Students flee dorm blaze at DePauw