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Proper house numbers key for emergency personnel

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Have you ever had the need to call for Police, Fire or EMS?

As a retired member of the West St. Paul Fire Department and current mayor of West St. Paul, I can advise the importance of ensuring your residence or property is properly marked and easily identifiable, as we all know when seconds count, one of the most troubling issues for responding personnel is locating the residence or property that needs emergency assistance.

It’s easy to forget the importance of this until you or someone else makes the call that activates the emergency response process.

House numbers are not only convenient for finding addresses, but necessary for emergency responders to locate those in need. When responding to an emergency, minutes matter, so be sure that fire, ambulance, and police personnel can easily and quickly find your address. Keep in mind it might not be you that is making the call. It may be someone else, and this simple item may save your life or someone else’s.

A fire, for the most part, can be easily spotted by responding personnel. However, there are many situations — whether police, medical or even fire personnel or responding — where this requirement of house or property numbering is very important, for your own personal safety and the safety of your property and the people who live in the community.

Our community has a house numbering bylaw in place which states all buildings shall have approved address numbers placed in a position to be plainly legible and visible from the street or road fronting the property. These numbers should contrast with their background and be clearly visible, legible and without obstruction from the street.

It is recommended that all residents and property owners take a few moments to install house numbers or examine their existing house numbers. Be sure the numbers can be easily read from the street, both in daylight and at night. When installing numbers, consideration should be given to the following items:

• Script numbers or numbers that are spelled out in words may be aesthetically pleasing, but are difficult to read quickly from the street;

• Brass or bronze numbers are difficult to see. Use numbers that contrast with the background. Whenever possible, install lighting or have the numbers installed as close to possible to existing lighting;

• If the house is located more than 45 feet from the street, the numbers should be displayed on a fence, mailbox, or other appropriate place that will make them visible for approaching vehicles;

• Be sure the view of the numbers is not obstructed by shrubs, trees, or decorations. Numbers should be clearly visible when approaching from either side of the house. If the numbers on your house are not visible or easy to read, it will take emergency personnel longer to reach you. Those extra minutes spent trying to locate a property can mean the difference between life and death, so take the time now to be sure your house numbers are visible from the street to help emergency responders find you faster.


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