In an emergency, we rely on medics and firefighters to act quickly, but in order to do so, first responders need to know where to go. Our Amanda Kelley tells us about an issue in Watertown, that has firefighters pushing for clearer rules when it comes to naming new streets.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. - - When it comes to house fires and other major emergencies, response time is sometimes the most important factor in saving property and saving lives.
City of Watertown Fire Department Capt. Todd DeMar said, "Whether or not we can get there and really make a difference is sometimes measured in seconds"
And getting the correct address and street name is essential in that process. But just this past week Fire Officials have raised some concerns with certain street names in the city of Watertown.
Capt. DeMar said, "We have housing developments where they named a lot of their own streets and in some cases a street name they named something may be very similar to something that we're used to responding to."
Watertown Mayor Jeff Graham said, "This came up from some internal memos from the fire department, they expressed their concern and that's where it's gone from there."
Communities like Ives Hill Retirement and Summit Wood are two of the problem areas, but issues have also surfaced in commercial areas as well. These businesses in the Watertown City Center are all listed at the same address on Arsenal Street.
Now city officials and first responders alike want to address the street naming situation before more developments like this one are built.
Graham said, "I think that really should be something city council should be involved in or the planning department for two reasons, one is consistency and appropriateness, the other is safety."
DeMar said, "It's very frustrating sometimes to have to go back and clarify was it Waltham or Weltha? Was it Hunt Street or Hawk Street? So the street names unfortunately do matter."
Graham believes this issue will best be resolved at the Planning Board level, alleviating any further confusion. Something fire officials say can really make all of the difference in keeping the community safe.
Watertown's Fire Department said currently the street name confusion hasn't caused any major problems with emergency responses in the area thanks to clear communication from 911 dispatchers.