Westgate Park Trail safety zone signs installed

By Carolyn Brewster

Published 02/12 2014 04:44PM

Updated 02/12 2014 08:00PM

Rain or shine Hank and his dog walk the Westgate Park Trail every day.

"It's a very safe park. And they just made it a lot safer," said Hank Niewold.

He's talking about the new zone marker signs.

"Those signs are a big help. They show you where you're at. At least they would know the general area," said Niewold.

The signs are placed throughout the trail, so if there's an emergency, law enforcement and the fire department know the quickest entrances that correspond with the zone.

"We have had medical emergencies on the trail in the past. We didn't really experience any delay but in the most critical events such as a cardiac arrest somewhere on the trail, when someone is not breathing or they don't have a heart beat reducing our response time by 30 seconds means the difference of a lifetime," said the Dothan Fire Department Battalion Chief, Chris Etheridge.

He says calls to the trail are sporadic but more likely in the summer time.

"In south Alabama with the heat and when we have people that go out and are not conditioned to the heat yet, the probability is high to have an incident on a three mile trail and being able to reduce that response time is critical," said Etheridge.

Kim Meeker, the assistant director for Dothan Leisure Services says Westgate Trail is the most used recreational activity in the city...up to 1,000 people use it daily. With numbers that high Meeker knew something had to be done to keep people safe.

"We call on our partners. Police, Fire Department, Public Works... All of us talking together it's possible to come up with things that matter to our community," said Meeker.

Now with everyone on the same page, they're asking people using the trail to make sure they are always aware of what zone they’re in, in case of an emergency.

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