Beacon lights could help safety officials

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 13, 2001

Several months ago, emergency vehicles had trouble locating a man in Sibley who had been pinned between his house and truck.

&uot;They had to go all the way around the road looking for the house because they couldn’t find the address,&uot; said Charles Woods, public relations officer for the Natchez Police Department.

TRIAD – an organization made up of the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, the Natchez Police Department and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program to address safety issues affecting senior citizens – think new emergency beacon lights may help in situations like this.

The flashing lights also attract the attention of their neighbors, Woods said.

The light bulbs can be placed into a regular socket on a porch light. The light can still act as a standard porch light but if residents ever need emergency help they can dial 911 and flip the light switch twice. The bulb will start blinking, sending a visible message to emergency vehicles looking for an address.

&uot;If they hit this light we know exactly where we’re going,&uot; Woods said.

TRIAD first bought some of the bulbs last year and recently received about 100 more, said Bruce Brice, a member of the SALT Council of TRIAD. The light bulbs cost about $1,100 for 100 bulbs.

Law enforcement officers agree it can be difficult to locate some houses especially if the addresses are not clearly marked.

Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Buddy Frank said deputies often spend a great deal of time looking for houses, sometimes without success.

&uot;So you call them to complain about it and tell them to step outside,&uot; Frank said. &uot;(The problem is) what if they can’t step outside.&uot;

To promote the beacon lights, members of TRIAD presented the lights bulbs to two local residents Thursday, including Roy Strickland, who coordinates the Roselawn Neighborhood Watch.

&uot;It makes me feel like I could get assistance a lot quicker,&uot; Strickland said.

Prior to receiving the light bulb, Strickland had a special light switch that could cause his porch light to blink.

&uot;But the light bulb is easier and better than the switch,&uot; Strickland said. &uot;A homeowner can just screw the light bulb in. (It) makes it very simple and easy to do.&uot;

Woods estimates about 100 of the light bulbs are currently in place at local residences.

He has not heard of a success story yet with the light bulbs, &uot;but I’m sure it’s going to play an important role in somebody’s life before long,&uot; Woods said.

TRIAD will hold its next meeting at 9 a.m. Friday at the Natchez Senior Citizen Multi-Purpose Center at 800 Washington St. Participants are urged to register in advance by calling 442-5082. The program will last until 11 a.m. with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.

People who are not senior citizens can purchase the beacon lights from Miss-Lou Crime Stoppers for $20, Woods said.