Over 20 miles of bike trails in Springfield are being outfitted with new safety features to help first responders find people faster in an emergency.
The National Trail Parks and Recreation District is working in conjunction with the Clark County Combined Health District, Clark County GIS division of the Clark County Auditor’s Office and both the city and county dispatch centers on a project to install emergency markers that would help dispatchers better locate someone when they call 9-1-1 from one of the district’s bike paths.
NTPRD Deputy Director Brad Boyer said the district started working with the health district about a year and a half ago on ways to make NTPRD bike paths more user-friendly.
“(The markers) could provide some extra seconds in response times for the emergency services that could potentially be life saving,” Boyer said. “We’ve had people who have had some health related issues on the bike path — individuals who’ve had heart attacks while working out. It was hard for them to relay exactly where they were.”
Boyer said the health district worked to acquire a $1,500 grant through the Ohio Department of Health to implement the cost of the emergency markers.
On every marker is an alphanumeric code. That code has been input in the county GIS system that’s connected to the dispatch networks.
The markers will be placed at every one-tenth of a mile on the trails. In an emergency, when someone calls 9-1-1, they will give the dispatcher the code on the marker, and the dispatcher will be able to specifically locate where they are on the trail and send help.
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Boyer said the district conducted a public survey about hesitations that people had when using the bike trails, and many responses that were returned cited not knowing where people were when on the trails.
“You’ll be able to regularly see the markers and get the coding down and pick it up pretty easy, so you’ll know exactly where you’re at,” Boyer said.
Clark County resident Bucky Meadows said he’s spent a lot of time running and walking on the trails — so he’s well aware of the dangers.
“If it’s close to dark and you get in trouble. You could really be in trouble,” he said. “Anything you do to improve safety would be good,” Meadows said.
The installation of the markers is expected to wrap up by mid-summer. At that point, bike trail users will see the markers on the Buck Creek Trail, Simon Kenton Trail and portions of the Little Miami Scenic Trail.