Now the dark nights are here, North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is urging people to make their house numbers visible so that they can find you when you need them most.
Lives are at risk because vital minutes are lost in life-threatening emergencies when ambulance crews cannot see your house number and property names easily.
In cases of sudden cardiac arrest, minutes can mean the difference between life and death. The likelihood of surviving decreases by 10% with every minute that passes without defibrillation. Thanks to the NHS' Act FAST campaign, it's well known that people who have experienced a stroke have a better chance of full recovery the quicker they receive treatment.
This year as many residents are spending more time at home, the ambulance service is asking people to consider using this time to see if their property can be easily seen in the event of an emergency.
To help the ambulance service find you, they are asking you to safely check if your house number is visible from the road in the dark, make sure there are no bushes or fences blocking the view and that it is noticeable when cars and vans park outside and, if your house has a name, display the number as well.
Ambulances are equipped with sat-nav systems to help crews locate properties but if the house number can't be quickly identified, clinicians spend vital time looking for clues on the street including numbers on neighbouring properties and rubbish bins.
Senior Paramedic, Luca Alfatti, said: "It is a difficult situation to be in when in an ambulance ready to help somebody who might be minutes away from dying but their property number isn't clearly visible. It means we are losing vital life-saving minutes which make it so important for people make an effort to ensure we can find their property quickly.
"As the days are short and the nights are long, house numbers should be lit up where possible so that they can be seen in the dark with nothing blocking their view from the road.
"You can't usually plan for an emergency, but you can prepare. We hope you never need us but just in case, please help us find you."
Other ways you can help emergency services find you include:
· Ensure children know how to say their address and how to contact the ambulance service as soon as they are able to.
· Smart phones can plot exact location co-ordinates in their map facilities, take some time to see how this works on your device.
· Download What 3 Words -- a free app which can pinpoint a location to within three meters, anywhere in the world. The NWAS mapping system works with What 3 Words and 999 call handlers can type in the three given words to identify the exact location of the emergency within seconds.
· Take notice of motorway markers, junctions and road signs so that you can explain where you are -- don't just rely on the sat-nav.
· Look out for small blue driver location signs every 500 metres on motorways and some major A roads. Providing the details written on the sign nearest to the emergency will help crews get to you.
As always, only dial 999 in the event of a life-threatening emergency.