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BY MICHAEL DROZDO
When you are having an emergency, everyone knows that second’s matter. Response time is critical, and anything that dispatchers, firefighters, paramedics, police and other first responders can do (or prepare for) can make a huge impact on the outcome of the emergency.
It is very frustrating to responders in the middle of the night responding to your emergency call when we cannot see your address, and we know second’s count. The question to ask yourself: Can emergency services find your house in a hurry? Unfortunately, many people never give their address a second thought until an emergency occurs at their residence. The house numbering system in Texas County is set up so that emergency services can find a location in a hurry.
It is so very important to you and your family to have your house clearly marked with your assigned address. You may already see these around the county, they are the red or green reflective signs on a mailbox post or a post at the end of a driveway.
In rural areas, or neighborhoods where homes are set back from the road, responders might have trouble finding the exact address from which a call came in from the dispatcher. A lot of times it is very difficult to see decorative or old numbering on a mailbox. Sometimes it is completely non-existent. Homeowners often install bold, easily seen house numbers to help drivers stop at the correct address on their house, but more is needed in the middle of the night or during bad weather conditions. Having spotlights on house number’s or posting “911 address signs” for emergency response, helps the numbers stand out from the property and are more easily seen from the street.
911 address signs differ from decorative address numbers in a few ways that may make them better options for some households. A 911 address sign is made from the same material as an official traffic sign, meaning that the reflectivity of this sign will help the numbers been seen from a greater distance away. Emergency responders are also trained to look for these signs in some areas, so day or night, they help to cut down driving time. When mounted to a mailbox post, yard stake or signpost at the edge of a property, 911 address signs help to save critical time for responders and are an easy way for homeowners to help be prepared for an unlikely emergency.
HERE ARE 8 STEPS ON HOW PROPERLY DISPLAY YOUR 911 ADDRESS
Step 1: Know your 9-1-1 address
Your 9-1-1 address is used by first responders to locate you during an emergency. If you recently built a new home, live in a rural area or are unsure of your 9-1-1 address, contact Texas County 911 addressing coordinator to obtain it and to ensure your home is on the map. The office number is 417-967-5309.
Step 2: Be visible from both directions
Posting your address number on your mailbox makes it easier for responders to find you, but remember, numbers should be posted on both sides of the mailbox. Emergency vehicles may not arrive from the same direction as your mail carrier. In addition to posting numbers on your mailbox, the entry to your driveway should be marked with your 9-1-1 address numbers if the mailbox sits across the road from your house.
Step 3: Be visible in the dark
Responders may need to find you at night. Illuminate any numbers on your house at nighttime. Numbers on a mailbox or post at the end of your driveway should be reflective and on a highly contrasting background to ensure they are easy to see at night.
Step 4: Use large numbers
When creating 9-1-1 address number signs, use numbers that are at least 3 inches high.
Step 5: Locate near the road
If your house is not visible from the road, it is important that you post numbers on a sign, post, or pole so they can be clearly seen from the road. If your house is hidden from view at the beginning of the driveway, only posting numbers on your home does not help responders recognize where you live as they are driving by. It is not recommended that you post the number on a gate or fence at the driveway because those numbers might not be visible when the gate is open.
Step 6: Post twice on long or shared driveways
If your driveway leads to more than one address, post all numbers at the end of the driveway. Then post the correct number on each house or building.
Step 7: Uncover the numbers
Remember to frequently trim any bushes, weeds, flowers or grass away from your signs so that all numbers are clearly visible. If you have hanging flowers, flags, or other items on your porch that block your 9-1-1 address numbers from being seen quickly by responders, move them.
Step 8: Shared mailbox area
If your mailbox is located on a community post with other mailboxes, it is extremely important that you also post your address at the end of your driveway. It is difficult for an emergency responder to know which house is yours when there are shared mailboxes in an area and no signage on your driveway to identify your home.
You can purchase street numbers and 911 address sign kits at a few hardware stores. There is also a local firefighter that makes and install’s 911 address signs, his contact information is Ernie Brilhart, you can text him at 262-388-5459.
MICHAEL DROZDO, ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF, LICKING FIRE DEPARTMENT