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EMS offering address markers

By Greg Bird

In a life and death situation – seconds matter.
For paramedics, fire crews and law enforcement officers being able to get on scene quickly and efficiently can make all the difference.
Even with advanced equipment, such as GPS and Enhanced 911, there are still instances of emergency crews having difficulty locating a residence when being dispatched on a call.
In most cases the culprit is the lack of proper addressing on homes.
McCreary County Ambulance Service Director Jimmy Barnett wants to encourage residents to make sure their homes have proper addressing, which will only serve to make response times better.
To help homeowners Barnett said McCreary EMS is now offering to print address markers for homes and businesses showing house numbers. Using the same material used to make road signs, the high-reflection signs are easy to read day or night, and just cost $12.
Citizens can come to the Ambulance Service on weekdays between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to order their signs, which will be custom built on site and ready for pick-up in just a few days.
“It’s really a little thing,” Barnett said. “For a few dollars you can purchase the signs here or house numbers at a hardware store and place them on the front of your house.”
“While we have made great improvements to our 911 system, including mapping and GPS tracking, that little thing can really help.”
Barnett stated the enhanced system can only help so much, especially at night when visibility is low. Having easy to read numerals on the front of a house or on a mailbox makes it better for emergency personnel to locate an address.
“We still have instances of having to dispatch crews to an address, but have to use descriptors such as house color to help the crews identify where they are going,” Barnett said. “In some of the places we have to go to, especially at night, that color description is just not enough.”
The county ordinance calls for addresses to be clearly visible on the front of a residence – in easy to read numbers of at least 3 inches in height. The numerals should be in a contrasting color to the background: bright numbers on a dark background, or dark numbers on a light background.
The address should also be visible from the street
County ordinance 350.4, enacted in 1998, states: “It shall be the responsibility of the owner of each resident (sic) and business in McCreary County to post their physical address in a manner which is readable in order to assist police, fire and/or rescue personnel in locating the business or resident in the event of an emergency.”

While on the books for nearly two decades, there has been little enforcement of the law, but officials stress by doing a simple thing such as following the law could save lives.

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