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The Snoop 5.29.2014

A couple of weeks ago the Herald ran an article, released by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, recognizing two state troopers for the role they played in rescuing a Douglas County couple from floodwaters last spring. That article was generated by the Highway Patrol and was intended to recognize the Patrol’s officers who were presented awards of valor. As acknowledged in the article, others were involved in the rescue operation.
Following the article’s publication, Margaret Rosseau, one of the residents who was rescued, asked us to give recognition to James Blakey and Mike Hamby for jumping in to help. We are happy to recognize these two individuals, but want to emphasize that many others were involved, including other members of the Highway Patrol, Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, and several fire department personnel, as well as private citizens and perhaps other official agencies. Many people were involved in the operation and each was important.
In an emergency operation such as this, many people become involved and a lot of them receive no recognition. That same morning, an Ava school bus driver was also a hero because she DID NOT drive into a flooded creek. The water came up after she had crossed a low water slab, trapping the bus between two creeks. Rather than take a chance and drive into the flooded stream, she parked the bus and waited for the water to run down.
Residents living nearby could also be considered heroes that morning because they allowed the students to go to their house, and we were told they even provided snacks for the children while they were waiting.
Unsung heroes in a disaster situation like this are often the dispatchers sitting behind a desk in an office, miles away from where the incident is unfolding. Imagine the frustration of trying to sort out the scenario based on radio conversations – often from several different people and sometimes from different agencies. The only information the dispatcher has is what is given to him/her, and sometimes it can be very confusing.
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And that brings up a horse of a different color (so to speak).
We often hear complaints about how ambulance calls are handled by the Cox Ambulance dispatch center in Springfield. Please understand, their information is only as good as what they are given. There are a few things you, as a caller, can do to help them and to help yourself if you have an emergency.
First, it is true. They are in Springfield and they don’t know Ava or Douglas County. That’s why it is so important that you know your physical address. If you live in the City of Ava, be sure you know your correct physical address – not your mailing address. Your physical address is a house number and a street or avenue number, with a quadrant location such as northeast or southwest. (Example: 504 NW 12th Avenue.) Streets run north and south, avenues run east and west. Jefferson Street and Washington Avenue intersect at the northwest corner of the Ava square and addresses advance from that point.
Not only should you know your house number; you must have your correct house number posted in a location where it can be easily seen by emergency personnel – even at night. If you don’t know what your physical address is, look at your City Utilities bill or call Ava City Utilities at 683-4122. They can tell you.
If you live outside the city it becomes a little more difficult, but we’re working on that. In the meantime, at least know the number of the county road you live on and the approximate distance from an identifiable intersection or highway. Well-known physical landmarks also come in handy. The color of your house or roof may help the responding unit in daylight, but it is of little help at night.
When you call, the dispatcher will ask a lot of questions. That’s his/her job. They have a protocol to follow. Be patient and answer the questions the best you can. The dispatcher will probably ask you to stay on the line or will ask for a call-back number – the number from which you are calling. That, too, is important in case additional information is needed.
If you have a true emergency situation, the tendancy is to become very impatient. A minute will seem like an hour. The best thing you can do is to cooperate and answer questions the best you can.
The telephone number of Cox Ambulance (which serves the Ava-Douglas County area) is 417-683-5555. That number is routed through the Springfield Dispatch Center.  If you need an ambulance, that is the number to call.
Also, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Ava Police Department both have 24-hour dispatchers available seven days a week. You may call either of those offices for ANY emergency (fire, law enforcement, etc.)
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office: 417-683-1020
Ava Police Department: 417-683-4321
Keep in mind, Douglas County is not served by a 911 system. If you call 911 your call may go to Wright County, Texas County, Webster County or … who knows. Then that agency will have to determine where you are and call the appropriate location. You can save yourself a lot of time by calling the correct number first.