GREENSBORO, N.C. — More than 25,000 people use Greensboro trails each month during the summer.
Guilford Metro 911 reports 45 emergency calls to those trails in 2013.
Emergency responders were having a difficult time getting to people who were hurt on the trails. They’ve developed a way to make response times quicker and more accurate.
Greensboro Fire Battalion Chief Steve Zimmerman said they get calls for broken bones, snake and insect bikes, heart attacks and people who are lost.
“No one wakes up in the morning thinking they’re going to call 911,” he pointed out. “Whether they need to be shocked with a defibrillator, CPR, a broken leg… But we’ve got to be able to find the victim. The emergency trail markers help us locate someone a whole lot faster,” Zimmerman explained.
An Eagle Scout helped develop the emergency trail marker system. The numbered and labeled green and white diamond signs are posted every quarter mile.
Similar to mile markers on a highway, the emergency markers act as a navigation system for the 80-90 miles of trails in Greensboro.
“When we get a 911 call, we can see that on our computer while we’re responding and we know exactly where that person is at.”
It’s a coordinated effort between the Fire Department, EMS, County and City law enforcement groups and the Parks and Recreation Department’s Water Rescue Team.
“On some of the trails, we’ve got markers out on the water,” Zimmerman pointed out. “They can bring rescue boats in to transport a victim while the other team might be doing CPR on the trail.”
As long as trail users pay attention to where they are, or can make it to the nearest trail marker, trail-trained crews can get to a victim on any city trail quickly with life-saving equipment.