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"Make your house number visible for more than just Santa this Christmas" says ambulance service.
This Christmas, North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is urging people to make their house numbers visible so that paramedics, as well as Santa Claus, can find them when it matters most.
Vital minutes in an emergency can by lost when ambulance crews are looking for houses in the dark and, in life-threatening emergencies, minutes can mean the difference between life and death.
In cases of sudden cardiac arrest, the likelihood of surviving decreases by 10% with every minute that passes without defibrillation and, 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.
As many residents trim their houses with festive lights and decorations this festive season, the ambulance service is asking people to consider if their property can be easily seen in the event of an emergency.
To help the ambulance service find you, check your house number is visible from the road in the dark, switch on outside lights, 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.
Ambulance resources are equipped with sat-nav systems to help them 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.
Advanced Paramedic, Luke Marriner, said: "We see lots of 'Santa please stop here' signs around at this time of year but it's so important that people make an effort to ensure their property can be quickly found by an ambulance too.
"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.
· 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.
NWAS will be using the hashtag #HelpUsFindYou to share tips on social media about how to help the ambulance service find you in an emergency.
Santa Claus paid a special visit to NWAS for a tactical meeting to talk about why it's so important to make your house visible in case of emergencies --
Alice Finch
Communications Officer (Media)