Irish Fire and Emergency Services AssociationThe proposed new Irish national postcode, to be called Eircode, will not be suitable for Irish Emergency Services and it will cost lives John Kidd, National Chairman of the Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association. (IFESA) said today. (Thursday 9 th Oct.)

Mr. Kidd said the mainly random nature of Eircode will mean that errors by users will not be conspicuous, will cause confusion and may be catastrophic in terms of sending services to the wrong location. ‘Response times for the emergency services are always critical and anything that makes them worse is not suitable for our members.

‘Because Eircode does not identify small local areas, it will be of little benefit for the large number of callouts to RTA's and other emergencies that are along roads and in other industrial and transport infrastructure rather than inside buildings. Our colleagues in Northern Ireland are used to postcodes that can be learned and are predictable so that they can find localities easily from memory. Eircode does not offer that capability and it will not be visible on street signs to help the public raise the alarm when they are in difficulty.'

‘The island of Ireland needs a postcode which has key visual elements and is flexible enough to use even when emergencies happen away from buildings. The emergency services on the Island have to work on both sides of the border, so any plan for a postcode must work in the 32 counties and be flexible enough to address all our needs. ‘

‘It is regrettable that IFESA or indeed any of the emergency service unions, were not consulted or allowed test any of the proposals for a new postcode. Budgets are already under strain in Ireland's Fire and Emergency Services, so anything proposed must be deliver real benefits in delivering services and have an adequate budget to cover its implementation,' said Mr Kidd.

‘The HSE and Local Authorities have successfully tested and used the alternative Loc8 Location Codes for public safety applications and major emergency plans over the last few years and they are already useable in readily available technologies at low cost.' IFESA is seeking an opportunity to raise its concerns on the Eircode system with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications and is calling on the Department of Communications to revisit their plans for a postcode and take the needs of our frontline emergency workers and public safety concerns into account.'

Media Contacts: John Kidd, National Chairman IFESA 087 6588999087 6588999

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