Fire district updates mobile home park maps

By John Gardner
The Surveyor

Berthoud Fire Protection District Operation Chief Robert Stumpf is confident that first responders can navigate the mobile home parks in south Berthoud in a timely manner during an emergency.

“I am satisfied that we have the very best information available to make our response to any address within the parks (and everywhere else in our jurisdiction) as timely as possible,” Stumpf stated in a message to the Surveyor.

The Berthoud Fire Protection District, along with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, that provides law enforcement to Berthoud, and Thompson Valley Emergency Medical Services based out of Loveland, who provides ambulatory services to the area, have all received a new updated map of the four mobile home parks: Sunshine Acres, Blue Spruce, Pinewood, and Wheel Estates Mobile Home parks on 2nd Street in Berthoud.

Stumpf headed up efforts to ensure first responders have the most up-to-date information regarding the parks’ addresses, including individual unit numbers, by contacting property managers to get their input about each of the individual park’s unique addresses.

“I spoke with two property managers to see if there was anything they thought could be done to make navigating the parks easier,” Stumpf said.

On Jan. 17, Stumpf and other fire district personnel drove and walked the parks, confirming the placement and markings of all the homes in each of the parks and used the information to update the map used to find a particular residence with a newer, color-coded map that details each unit’s number individually, whereas the previous map simply showed a number range of an entire row of units. The fire district then distributed the updated maps to the sheriff’s office and to Thompson Valley EMS, according to Stumpf.

Stumpf said during one particular visit just to see how well each unit was marked, very few units were found without properly displayed unit numbers.

“We found maybe one or two [residences] in all four parks that had any addressing issues,” Stumpf said. “One of the residences was being painted at the time, so it didn’t have the numbers visible at the time.”

Once Stumpf had done all the ground work, he contacted Patrick Dillon, a Sunshine Acres resident who had initially brought the addressing issue to the fire department’s attention.

Prior to the Surveyor’s report on the issue in the Jan. 15 publication, the fire district was aware of three fairly recent instances where first responders were delayed in arriving at the correct address within one of the parks. One of those instances was a misdirected call that went through the Weld County Dispatch instead of a local dispatch such as Larimer County or Loveland. That incident resulted in a 16-minute delay, according to Fire Chief Steven Charles. But, Stumpf said those incidents were more an issue of misdirected calls rather than personnel unable to locate a correct address.

“These instances where it had been an issue, we’re finding more and more that these calls are made from cell phones,” Stumpf said. “That’s an issue, not specific to the trailer park and not specific to Berthoud; it’s nationwide.”

Stumpf indicated the fire district is currently addressing misdirected cell phone calls as well. But, he said callers providing as much information about their location, including the town or city they are in, is critical.

The new detailed map was presented to the fire district’s board of directors at its Jan. 22 meeting. Stumpf said the board suggested the fire district send out a mailer to each unit, in each of the mobile home parks, that provides detailed instruction on what information to provide to dispatchers during an emergency situation.

“If any information is left out of the equation, it could be a problem,” Stumpf said.

Dillon was pleased with the district’s response to what he considered a very serious issue that could be the difference between life and death.

“I’m very pleased with the fire department,” Dillon said. “They went above and beyond to resolve the issue.”

Dillon’s only remaining concern is with ambulatory services.

“I have a feeling that the fire department isn’t going to be the problem anymore,” Dillon said. “But TVEMS needs to also follow suit.”

Thompson Valley Emergency Services Chief Randy Lesher said TVEMS had been working with the fire district and it had received the updated maps which are already in each of the fleet’s ambulances.

“At this point, that is all we can do,” Lesher said.

But, Lesher said that drivers not locating correct units hasn’t been an issue and he remains confident that ambulance drivers can locate callers with accuracy.

Stumpf agreed that each of the first responders now have the most updated information to aid in locating the correct address.

“We’re all working from the same sheet of music now, and it’s all accurate information,” Stumpf said.