"The number of incidents we attend where the front of the house is in total darkness is unreal."

"Why would you make it so difficult to see the house number?  In an emergency every second counts and we can waste valuable minutes searching for the right property."

These are just a few of the comments from staff of West Midlands Ambulance Service when asked what it’s like trying to find properties at night.

With the clocks set to go back an hour this weekend coming, now is very definitely the time to make sure your house is ready for the winter.

Each year West Midlands Ambulance Service gets called to a large number of incidents where it is almost impossible for ambulance staff to find the property where the patient is, because they can’t identify the house from the road.  The situation always gets worse with the longer hours of darkness.

Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer, Tracey Morrell, said: "Our crews regularly find house numbers and even road signs obscured by hedges that have overgrown over the summer, or paint work that has faded.  Some houses simply don’t have a number.

In cases where every second counts, being able to find a property quickly really can make the difference between life and death.  Spending a few moments making sure we can identify your house really could make a massive difference if the worst happens.

Equally, if it is dark, put the lights on so that your house is more easily spotted.  If possible, it can also be helpful if someone can come out to the road to flag down the ambulance vehicle.

On Monday, many people will be traveling home in the dark for the first time in six months.  It will also be the first time that many school children will have been travelling home at dusk or in the dark.  

We would urge people who are out and about in the dark to make sure that they are visible to other road users.  For example, if you are out walking the dog, have you got a reflective jacket on? 

People riding bicycles should ensure that they have working bike lights – it is the law.  Reflectors on your clothing and bike can only help. We would also strongly recommend that you wear a cycle helmet too.

Please make sure you use common sense and stay safe.

  • The clocks go back 1 hour at 2.00am on Sunday 28th October.
Missions completed since 1991: 50,563 | On average we airlift a child every four days | Road traffic collisions make up around 35% of the incidents we attend | The service airlifts on average four horse riders each week.