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Even if your emergency isn’t a life or death situation, the length of time that someone may be experiencing discomfort can be impacted by the time it takes for professional help to arrive. Police, fire and emergency medical service professionals don’t always know the exact location of every residence and business in our town.

Crews in emergency vehicles are often frustrated (particularly at night) by homeowners and businesses who don’t display easy-to-read house numbers on their homes and buildings. This may cause delays in reaching the emergency as the crews struggle to locate the incident.

Your house number may not seem to be a very important element of your outdoor landscaping efforts but you shouldn’t disregard this important 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 responders at night, even more difficult in stormy conditions.

Using large house numbers that have reflective characteristics, placing the numbers near the street entrance to your home and keeping plant growth or snow mounds from blocking the numbers are all ways to improve a more timely response to an emergency.

Large, prominently displayed, well-lighted numbers that are visible from the road will help speed a response in an emergency.

While it is ideal if someone can be waiting outside to signal the emergency responders as they arrive, even making sure an outside light is on can also be helpful.

Try this test to determine whether or not your home is clearly marked and visible:

Drive past your home and try to locate the house number;

Repeat this step at night; from both directions.

Materials to improve address visibility are readily available from stores in your community.

There are many people willing and able to help you in an emergency. You can make their job a little easier by making your home more visible. They can’t help you if they can’t find you.

David B. Hiltz


The writer is the director of quality and development at Code One Training Solutions.

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