“Become dust - & they will throw thee in the air; Become stone - & they will throw thee on glass." Muhammad Iqbal *Beyond the bushes, boiling with dust, is 4Shoes West boundary road.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Save A Life

Though I rarely work for pay anymore, I have recently been doing a small gov't. contract that has had me running around the countryside paying calls on specific households. 
Finding rural dwellings can sometimes present a challenge because:  1) not all backroads have crossroads or mile markers,  2) not all driveways are clearly visible (or accessible, but that's another story),  & 3) though Canadian land descriptions & gravel roads are measured in Imperial miles, my Canadian vehicle only shows Metric kilometers.  Time for a bit of math... 1 mile = 1.61 kilometers - relatively simple equation, right? Dammit, my odometer does not display fractions......  I soldier onward. 

My rural municipality (RM) is the last one in this province to have yet to put in place emergency address markers similar to these ones (also called alternate address markers) beside the entrances to driveways. Instead, country addresses are still referred to by their legal land descriptions. For example, if the address is SW 26 19 2E, a driver must understand that this means the property is on the Southwest corner of Section 26 in Township 19 on grid road 2E. Further complicating matters, a section (640 acres - more Imperial measurements) is comprised of 4 quarter sections of 160 acres each. A quarter is sometimes sub-divided into parcels of various size, so there may be numerous dwellings on each quarter section. Now find the unmarked driveways... many of which are cleverly disguised with overgrown bush, for the sake of privacy, I suspect. Further twist, now do it in the winter darkness. Argh. 

Somehow, maybe just luck, I finished the initial stage of the contract last week; but I groaned a lot & cursed a lot along the way. I cursed a lot

Once found, I needed to verify with the occupant that I was at the correct co-ordinates... I was astounded(!)  by how many people could not tell me their own address. I reminded each clueless person that their address would be written out on their driver's license & on their hydro bill. To a one, this was the excuse:
"Oooohhh! No. I don't know that because I've never changed the address on my license & my landlord pays the hydro bill."
Good grief. I have a new appreciation for the difficulties Emergency Responders face just in trying to reach a person in distress! (*Aside: I found it odd how many rural rental properties there appear to be in this part of the country.)
I gently pointed out to these people that they needed to get that land description from their landlords & (ideally, memorize it, but at the very least) keep it close to the phone. Police or Paramedics have zero chances of getting to you in time to render aid if they cannot even find your location. 
You wouldn't believe how many blank looks I got over this. 

This week I have been doing some round-up visits to various households in a small town where, again, I am shocked by how many homes have house numbers too small to see, numbers in colours which do not contrast strongly enough against the colour of the house itself,  numbers out of order, & homes with no numbers at all.

The point, that I am struggling to make, is that every rural driveway should have some type of sign or marker & every house in town should bear easily visible house numbers, in good repair, which are large enough to be clearly read from the road, contrast with the background colour,  & are not obscured by overgrown trees, shrubbery, or leftover Christmas decorations. 
Yes. I did indeed say leftover Christmas decorations. Like the goldleaf wire reindeer attached to the corner of one house... Sadly, the reindeer's head was in a snow drift halfway across the yard. Come on people, really? *sigh*

For the sake of safety, if you cannot recite your own address, if your rural driveway is not marked in some way, or if your home in town does not currently have numbers on it - fix that. 
Your life, or the life of someone that you love could well depend on it some day.    


  1. Absolutely. We were told that same thing by the fire department during our busy fire season last year. A #1 is to have large numbers identifying your property--unobstructed. I guess renters don't always think about those things.

  2. Apparently, neither do some landlords.


Pony Up some Words & I'll 100% Hit you Back!

*4ShoesLife is happy to exchange Blogroll Links upon request*