Help Emergency Responders Find You

Published: 2/1/2016

When you need to call 9-1-1 because you have an emergency - minutes can seem like hours as you wait for that police officer or firefighter or paramedic to show up at your door. Sometimes, emergency personnel lose precious time getting to the location where they are needed because they can't locate the home or business due to address numbers not easily visible from the street.

Your house number may not seem to be a very important element of your outdoor landscaping efforts but you shouldn’t disregard this little detail.  If you can’t see the house number when you drive up to your home in the daylight then imagine how difficult it would be for a stranger to see it at night.  Dark numbers on a dark background, numbers that have faded with time, numbers that have fallen off the wall or mailbox or numbers only on one side of the mailbox are all likely to contribute to a delay in locating the site of the emergency.

You can help emergency responders locate your house by properly displaying your address and following some very simple guidelines:

Use Large Numbers - Every single-family house should use numbers that are at least 3” high. Multiple dwelling units such as apartments and duplexes, as well as non-residential buildings, should use numbers that are at least 6” high. The numbers should face the correct street.

Be Visible in the Dark - Put the numbers on your house under a light. Numbers on a mailbox or post should be reflective or on a highly contrasting background.

Be Visible From Both Directions - Numbers on your mailbox should be posted on both sides. Emergency vehicles may not arrive from the same direction as your mail carrier or delivery.

Locate Near the Road - If your house is not visible from the street, post numbers so that they are clearly visible from the road either on a pole, sign or post. If your house is across the street from a mailbox, post the number along the driveway.

Post Twice on Long or Shared Driveways - If the driveway leads to more than one address, post all numbers at the end of the driveway and also post the correct number on each building.

Uncover the Numbers - Several times per year, trim the bushes, vines, flowers and weeds so all numbers are clearly visible. Move flower baskets, flags and other items that may obstruct a clear view.

Ensure Your Telephone Provider Has Your Correct Address - People placing emergency calls often have difficulty providing their addresses. Children, visitors, hearing or speech impaired callers, or callers in a life-threatening situation, may not be able to provide address information to dispatchers. Ensuring your telephone company has your correct 911 address is important because that information is displayed in the call center. This allows the dispatchers to send the appropriate fire, medical personnel, or law enforcement, even if the caller is unable to communicate.

Please help protect your family and your property. If you need 911 services -  fire, law enforcement and EMS will be able to find you faster. Seconds count in an emergency!