Former volunteer firefighter Ron Aubrey thought his large address sign and was visible enough for emergency crews to spot. But after a near fatal incident at his home Aubrey is making a second sign visible from both directions on Metchosin Road.

Firefighters want your digits

Ron Aubrey is highlighting the need for proper signage when it comes to street addresses.

After a friend suffered a nearly fatal bee sting last summer, Ron Aubrey is highlighting the need for proper signage when it comes to street addresses.

Mo Pesant was working on Aubrey’s Metchosin property last July when he was stung by a bee and had to rush to find his EpiPen and antihistamines. He wasn’t able to inject his epinephrine before collapsing.

Pesant was lying on the ground unconscious until Aubrey found him. Paramedics revived him on route to hospital. “By the time he got the Benedryl in him he passed out before he could take the EpiPen,” Aubrey said.

While waiting for emergency responders, Aubrey was at the end of his driveway on Metchosin Road.

He heard sirens coming and then they stopped. He was puzzled, but within a few moments the firefighters arrived. Firefighters told Aubrey the mapbook marked his address in a slightly different location.

Aubrey worries that many people in Metchosin have poorly marked address signs, which could slow down emergency responders. Fire Chief Stephanie Dunlop said with the bee sting incident,  that wasn’t the case.

“We were not delayed in getting there,” Dunlop said. “Sometimes we need to slow down to figure out where we are.”

But Dunlop agrees with Aubrey that homeowners need to have their address numbers clearly displayed at the entrance to their driveway to help insure a quick response from emergency personnel.

“Seconds count for both medical and fire calls,” Dunlop said. “The signs should be visible on both sides of the road so we can see it. If it’s not reflective we can’t see it.”

When 911 calls are dispatched, fire halls are sent a map of the area which is automatically printed out.

In urban areas that can be a useful tool, but in Metchosin, blocks aren’t designated and Dunlop said the map is often nothing more than a long line symbolizing the road and a vaguely placed dot for the location.

It’s common in Metchosin for two or three houses to share a driveway. Dunlop stressed the importance all house numbers being visible from the road.

“Sometimes we’ll drive and see 722 and then the next number we see is 726. What happened to 724?” Dunlop said. “It’s just a matter of us being able to find you.”

MVFD also told Aubrey that his address sign faces north toward Colwood and is not visible for people travelling north on Metchosin Road.

Aubrey built his large address sign before municipal borders shifted when Metchosin incorporated in 1984.

“I thought I had taken the responsibility of a street light and a big sign,” said Aubrey a retired 20-year veteran of Colwood Fire Rescue and member of Colwood volunteer firefighters’ association.

He also had a streetlight installed on his property to illuminate his sign if anyone needed to find it in the dark.

He is in the process of having a second sign built for his driveway facing the other direction.

“I think it’s important with a medical emergency for people to find the house,” Aubrey said. “The last thing we need is someone’s life on the line.”

The MVFD is selling reflective address signs for $25 and will be installed by firefighters. For more information call MVFD at 250-478-1307.



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