House num­bers save lives

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

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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