Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Residents Plead for Emergency Plan

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Residents Plead for Emergency Plan

Article excerpt

If Kathy Posey's 3-year-old son has a seizure and stops

breathing on a rainy day, a bulldozer would have to pave the way

for a rescue vehicle to reach him.

Posey realized that on Dec. 15, the fifth straight day of rain

that made Southern Pine, the private road she lives on,

impassable.

"There was no way an emergency vehicle could have gotten

through if they needed to," she said. "We were barricaded in

basically."

Fortunately, her son stayed healthy and didn't need rescue

services that day. But she can't predict when a seizure might

occur. She has had to call rescue service to her home three

times in the past two years.

The situation points out a potentially serious problem for Clay

County that concerns county officials and others.

The only time the county will spend county money on a private

road is when there is a medical emergency.

Under those circumstances, the county would send a road-grading

machine ahead of the fire or rescue vehicle, said County Manager

Bob Wilson.

"We'd literally be rebuilding the road ahead of it," he said.

Wilson said he is "tremendously" concerned about the procedure.

A house that caught fire on an impassable private road would

burn to the ground before firefighters could reach it, he said.

Posey said last week was the first time in the five years she

has lived on Southern Pine that she has sought help solving the

problem. She called Clay County Commissioner Charles R. "Buddy"

Griffin, who oversees her district, on Dec. 15.

Griffin said he is sympathetic to Posey's predicament. On

Thursday, he requested the County Commission officially ask the

Legislature for help. Griffin wants a state law that would allow

county governments to maintain or repair private roads when

public safety is at stake.

But because the state constitution prohibits counties from

spending money on private land, a law to change it would require

a statewide vote. …

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