Erin McCullough and
The greenways in Tullahoma have gotten even safer for runners and walkers alike, according to city officials.
In a partnership with the Coffee County Communications Center and local first responder agencies, the Tullahoma Parks and Recreation Department has installed location identification signs along all city park trails in an effort to assist emergency medical personnel responding to incidents along the trails.
If anyone experiences a medical emergency on one of the park trails, they will now be able to better provide their specific location to 911 personnel, which should lessen the time that emergency officials spend locating the injured person.
“This project is a wayfinding approach to help emergency services locate the scene of an emergency (or) incident within Tullahoma parks and on park trails,” said Tullahoma Parks and Recreation Director Kurt Glick.
The “park location point” (PLP) signs are highly visible and are designated with a unique three-character “park location identification” number, which corresponds to the geographical location of the sign in relation to the rest of the trail.
The three characters designate in which park the sign is posted, on which side of Lincoln Street the sign is located, and the number of the post, said Glick.
“It’s basically like an address,” he said, “just like a house address.”
There is currently no set distance in between each posted sign, Glick said.
“The way we did the signs, there’s no concrete distance in between (them),” he said.
“We did it basically by areas of the greenway, and we did it in a manner to which we could expand easily.”
Glick said that the spacing of the signs works in his department’s favor for several different reasons, most revolving around the potential expansion of the greenways.
“If we numbered them one through 12…, starting at a (certain) point, then it wouldn’t make any sense when we grew,” he said.
They also include instructions to call 911 in case of any emergencies.
After someone has placed a call to 911, if they see one of those signs nearby, they will be able to provide the communications center staffer with their approximate location by using the PLP noted on the sign.
The dispatcher will then relay the information to emergency personnel to give them a better idea of where to find the injured person.
Though the general location of people calling into the Coffee County Communications Center via cell phones is provided, it is not exact.
It is important to note that though the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates may be provided with a 911 call, it is not the exact and accurate location.
Coordinates for latitude and longitude are provided to the communications center with only a location radius (in meters), and that radius ranges in size, from minimal to large distances.
These signs are another tool that may assist the 911 call taker in locating a caller that may be unsure of their location.
In addition to placing the signs along the trails, the parks and recreation department has created a map that the dispatch center and first responder agencies use when responding to calls.
Ideas for better park safety
The idea, according to Tullahoma Mayor Lane Curlee, came about when a friend made him aware of an accident that occurred along a portion of the greenway during the summer last year.
“A neighbor and a friend of mine made me aware of just a little accident that happened along the greenway,” he said.
“Someone called 911, and there was a little bit of confusion as to where the person was.”
The confusion about location is not unheard of, as describing specific locations along nature paths may be difficult if there are no identifying markings or landmarks to use as reference points.
The signs, designated the “Emergency Services Wayfinding” system by city officials, will provide identifiable posts along portions of the trails.
Curlee’s friend later visited the Memphis area and saw location signs similar to the ones installed, said Curlee, and relayed the information to Curlee, who got in touch with Kurt Glick.
Curlee said that Glick agreed on the need for the additional marking, and both were proud to add them as additional safety features to the parks.
“This was done as an additional safety feature for visitors using our parks,” said Curlee. “Nothing is more important the safety of our residents and visitors.”
The signs are located along the Rock Creek Greenway, which includes Frazier McKewen Park, and the East Park trail system, which is located by East Middle School.
The signs are not only good for assisting emergency services, however.
If a park patron notices an issue in either park, such as graffiti or park damage, they can call parks and recreation and report it using the park location point, if there is one within view.
The parks and recreation staff will then use the number as a reference point to assist in locating the issue.