We are grateful to the people at Autoaddress, one of the Eircode contractors, for confirming on their website that Eircode can send a user, including an ambulance, "hundreds of metres away from the right location".
This a phenomenon long understood by professionals in the area of road navigation. It is caused by the fact that the detail of entrances from roads to properties is often not available or up-to-date. Furthermore, there may be several entrances to a property and, for that reason, navigation systems may not know which one is the correct one. Finally, private roads inside property boundaries may not be mapped.
The end result, is that navigation systems select the nearest point on the nearest mapped road to the Eircode building location as the destination. If the building is close to the road from which access is gained, then there is unlikely to be a problem. However, if your building is some distance from the road, or if there are multiple entrances with complicated access, then the navigation system may actually guide the user (including ambulances) to a location several hundred metres (over a kilometre in some cases) away from the correct access point.
This is not an issue that only happens when using Google Maps. It happens with all Navigation systems as the problem is a common one;- Eircode points to a building and not to an entrance. It can happen both in city and rural areas.
If this happens to your courier, the problem can be resolved with a phone call. However, if it happens during the night when an ambulance is trying to find a patient, this can be a major issue;- especially if the patient is alone and rendered unconscious.
Loc8 Code has been highlighting this issue since Eircode was rolled out in 2015. Personnel from Loc8 Code were invited to the CFR (Community First Responders) Ireland's "Respond" conference last year (2019) to explain this and other issues. In addition, those same personnel have also attended local CFR events to help with ensuring people have their Eircodes. In all cases, some members of the public and 1st responders have confirmed that mis-routing has happened to them.
This is, therefore, one of the most important reasons why people should "CHECK YOUR CODE", and do it also for those who may not be able to it for themselves. If mis-routing is the problem, then you can create a Loc8 Code yourself for a point just (2-3 metres) inside the entrance from the main road and use this when calling an ambulance. Generating a Loc8 Code is easy to do here or via the point8 app. Be sure to read the instructions we have provided on this website here before you do it and check it before you "DISPLAY YOUR CODE"
There are two other reasons why you should check your Eircode:
It can also take some months before a new property is allocated an Eircode and, because of strict An Post rules, some buildings will not get an Eircode at all. In both these cases, a Loc8 Code can also be used. A Loc8 Code can be applied to ANY location across the whole island of Ireland, North & South.
We have asked the Minister for Communications, Richard Bruton TD to adjust the Eircode Ambulance Public Service Announcement which is broadcast on RTE stations to include a note to the Public that they should "CHECK YOUR CODE". Hopefully, both he and his Officials in the Department of Communications will arrange this as a mater of urgency as it really should have been included from the start.
If you have instances, of any of these issues to tell us about please add them in a comment below.
Please "CHECK YOUR CODE" NOW and do it for those who cant.