DEAR ABBY: I would like to tell you about an item that helps emergency vehicles locate a particular home. A "911 Locator" light switch can be purchased in many hardware stores. It is a three-position light switch that replaces the standard one which operates the porch or yard light. In the bottom position, the outside light is off; in the upper position, the light is on as it normally would be; and in the middle position, the outside light flashes. Emergency vehicles can spot a flashing light from quite a distance, so they can zero in on the house in distress without having to slow down to read addresses.
These switches are illuminated so they can easily be found in the dark. They retail for about $17. I have installed several of them for elderly, single and ill friends in the past few years, and at least two have been used for an emergency. The emergency personnel complimented the homeowners for making their homes easy to find. One manufacturer of this type of switch is Pass & Seymour/Legrand. I hope this information is helpful. -- R.E. JENSEN, SEDONA, AZ.
DEAR R.E.: Very helpful. Thank you for informing my readers -- and me -- of the existence of this item. Its size may be small, but its value is potentially enormous. I called the manufacturer and was told that this product is carried by several national hardware store chains.
DEAR ABBY: I have worked for years as a wedding photographer, and during that time I have seen many couples almost driven to elopement because of the pressure they're placed under while the wedding is being planned.
Some situations I've witnessed repeatedly: Well-meaning mothers who plan the wedding they always wanted, and browbeat their daughters into accepting the plans. Divorced parents so bitter they could not put aside their personal feelings for a few hours to attend their son's or daughter's wedding, or who refuse to be photographed in the same shot. Stepparents who are so insecure they refuse to allow their mate to attend the wedding because the ex-spouse will be there.
I've seen "friends" who get the groom so drunk the night before the wedding that he's still reeling the next day; siblings and friends whose egos prevent the bride and groom from choosing the people they really want to stand up with them; and "wedding experts" who pressure the couple into spending more than they can afford because it would "look bad" to do something less expensive.
Abby, I have dried more tears, consoled more grooms and counseled more couples who were ready to throw in the towel and elope than I care to remember.
To all of those self-involved, insensitive people, I would like to say: If you love your child, your friend or your sibling, put your ego and personal problems aside for one day. Listen to what the couple want, support their decisions, and help them make their dream day come true. -- J.G. IN PHOENIX
DEAR J.G.: The wedding season is fast approaching. I hope that all couples about to be married will keep this column handy for well-meaning family and friends who apparently forget whose big day it is.
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