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House numbers save lives

In the case of an emergency, such as a fire, a difference in minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

Firefighters, RCMP, and ambulances are equipped with many tools to help improve their arrival time.One of these tools is a detailed map of their designated area(s).

However, house numbers are imperative for a quick reference.The more camouflaged and hard to find the numbers are, the longer it will take emergency personnel to arrive at the scene.

Now that we have a 911 system in place, the importance of having an address number on your home cannot be emphasized enough. Consider this real-life incident that recently happened. A call was placed to 911 reporting that a man was undergoing cardiac-arrest. An ambulance was dispatched to the address. They were desperately searching for an address number on homes along the street and stopped at three homes that had no number. Fortunately the residents were home and they eventually got directed to the correct address. In life-threatening situations, every minute is critical.

In an effort to serve you better, responders are requesting that residents cooperate in posting their street numbers on their homes. An RCMP officer recently told me: “When we are called to a home for an emergency, time is always critical. That means finding that residence as quickly as possible. Walk out to the street in front of your home and see if your house numbers can be easily seen. If they can be, then we have a greater chance of possibly saving a life.”

Here are some guidelines that we have found for house signs:

• The numbers on residences should be at least three inches high and the numbers on businesses should be at least four inches high.

• Numbers should be a contrasting colour to the background.

• Numbers should be placed on, above, or at the side of the main entrance, so that they can be easily detected from the street.

• If the entrance is more than 50 feet from the street, or cannot be seen from the street, a second set of numbers should also be displayed on a post at the street or end of the driveway.

• Police cars and fire trucks may come from any direction. Be sure to mark your house number in such a way that it may be easily seen, no matter which direction they are approaching.

• Reflective numbers or one of the new light-up signs are recommended.

At the very least, any house number is better than none at all. Another concern to consider is that many responders may not live in your town, or may be new to the area and not familiar with all of the streets or family names. This is all the more reason to have a house number clearly posted by your front door.

The main concern of everyone is for the safety of the residents. You never know when you may be the next one to call 911 for an emergency. Be sure your house number is posted and visible from the road so you can be found as quickly as possible as every minute counts.

Frank Antle chairs the Conception Bay North Joint Councils Association

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