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Lack of visible house numbers

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  • Lack of visible house numbers

    Myself and a friend are trying to raise public awareness of the importance of clearly visible house numbers. I am a volunteer FF with a combination dept that responds to a lot of EMS calls. My friend is a volunteer with the local ambulance corp. We are trying to come up with ways to get the public to take a look at their house numbers and make them clearly visible from the road. We are both substitute school bus drivers on our days off, another reason to have clearly visible house numbers. I know there are town ordinances in place to help ensure this, but I hear local fire marshals saying that they write a summons for a house number code violation and the judge does not have time for petty BS in his courtroom. We would appreciate any suggestions or ideas that someone would be willing to share with us, by the same token we would be willing to share some of our ideas with someone who would like to hear them. E-mail me if you would like to hear what we have done so far.
    Thank you!

    Roger E. Welch Sr.

    "If your house is on fire it is easy to find, but if you are inside with a medical emergency it is a little more difficult!"

  • #2
    Several departments in this area have taken on a project to sell reflective numbers signs as both a public relations tool and a fund raiser. You can tell where there departments have really pushed the need by the number of these signs you see posted in their districts. They tend to sell themselves, once the firefighters start putting them up, the neighbors start to want them and the domino effect begins.

    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.


    • #3
      We have a similar situation in our area and have incorporated it in our Fire Prevention presentations. There are pamphlets that are available emphasizing the need for house numbers. Metal's idea is pretty good too. I would use it but the location that doesnt have house numbers in my area is a little rough. More likely to get a beating than anything else.

      Shawn M. Cecula
      Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2


      • #4
        I will have to combine the other replies. We have it incorporated into our Fire Prevention program. During FP Week we send home info with each child at school letting parents know of the importance of visible numbers also advising them of a program in which we offer reflective type numbers at a reduced price as a fundraiser.

        Good Luck!


        • #5
          These signs have been a lifesaver for us! Our City Council decided to make it an ordinance to display them. The city sold the signs for $12.00 each, billed on their water bill for 3 $4.00 payments. The FD members installed the signs on shift. In our small city we sold over 300 signs. It has gone so well for us we have sold 150 outside our city. The FD makes $3.00 on each sign. It has really made the Fire Dept. look good. Also it helps to have a mayor that's a full time firefighter.


          • #6
            ok, call this number!!! They had a big fight and now our communities everywhere are using then! They're CHEAP!!!!! 1-937-652-4371, they will hook you up with a guy named Mr. Cady! He is really AWESOME and he'll send you ALL the info. you need for FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


            • #7
              You might want to try something that is very time consuming, but works. Get a few guys to go around in your utility and physically hand draw a map of your entire first due, including house numbers. Go bang on doors if you have to. It is a whole hell of a lot easier at 0200, and it is pouring down rain to find a house, even with posted numbers.


              • #8
                In my community, it is an city ordinance to have visible numbers both on the house(4" minimum) and on the mailbox (3" minimum).

                When a home is sold in Massachusetts there must be a smoke detector inspection (Mass. General Laws, Chapter 148, section 26F). My Department charges $25 for the inspection. We do them with the in service companies as part of district familiarization.

                When we do the 26F and home fire alarm inspections for new construction, we check for the house numbers. If the inspection fails for any reason, ie, inoperable detectors or improper house numbers, the resident has to reapply for the inspection at HQ and pay a $25 reinspection fee.

                And on the eighth day...God created Firefighters!
                Captain Gonzo


                • #9
                  We started selling them several months ago - basicly at our cost just so we could find people. Yes, they sell themselves, but how do you keep the public aware of WHO they need to get in touch with to BUY them?? Think I will try FFtrainer's idea though, and send forms out during Fire Prevention week.


                  • #10
                    Here in the PNW, nothing is worse than trying to locate a residence at 2am in the rain. Most of our houses are down long driveways with only the roadside mailbox to provide any indication of the house number. Our department provides a marker post for free (including installation) for the asking. For some of our customers, we will ask them if we can put up the post. It's alot less frustrating on the EMTs to find the right driveway.

                    Also, it's good community relations and keeps the probies out of trouble!

                    Stay safe!



                    • #11
                      I am a member of a volunteer department in a small community in Montana, and am frustrated with how difficult it is to find a home when somebody calls us for an emergency. People don't understand that we can show up a bit quicker and provide aid sooner if their driveways were visibly marked. I have seen other departments selling the signs and was wondering, for those whose departments are doing this, what company they are getting the signs from and if you can send me a link or number to get ahold of them. Also, how did you implement this program in your community?

                      "Do what's right! Do it well!"

                      Firefighter/EMT Ross
                      Stevensville Fire


                      • #12
                        Try these guys out:

                        I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

                        One friend noted yesterday that a fire officer only carries a flashlight, sometimes prompting grumbling from firefighters who have to lug tools and hoses.
                        "The old saying is you never know how heavy that flashlight can become," the friend said.
                        -from a tragic story posted on firefighterclosecalls.com


                        • #13
                          For private dwellings, we carry cards that fit over door knobs (like the "do not disturb" things at hotels) on all the rigs. It says we were in the area, couldnt find/see the number and it has the county ord. on it so they know its the law. Commercial properties are sent to our Prevention folks to handle.

                          When we find a house that the number is hard to see (or not there at all) we hang one on the door.

                          Weve had them for as long as Ive been around and they work. We make a note and check back in like a month and the issue has always been corrected.
                          Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

                          IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

                          "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
                          RUSH-Tom Sawyer

                          Success is when skill meets opportunity
                          Failure is when fantasy meets reality


                          • #14
                            There are several excellent ideas already discussed, but the main focus needs to be on education. Education. Education.

                            Develop a catchy slogan. We used "When Seconds Count... Help Us Out". Use the media in your community to get the message out. Message boards of local businesses, real estate signs on key roadways, school flyers, posters, articles in your local newspaper, flash messages on a cable access channel, bumper stickers on your members cars, magnetic signs on the apparatus .. just look at your community and use what's available.

                            Selling reflective signs is also an excellent way to get the public to actually put your message into actions, or selling them through a local business such as a hardware store. maybe you can acquire some money from the local Lions or Kiwanias, or another community group for high-risk populations, such as seniors or the disabled, they may not be able to purchase them. There may even be state money available, possibly through the health department, for your project. Don't forget private and state organizations for the blind, diabled and children... they may have money available for thier populations. Maybe have a table at the local grocery store or Wal-Mart on weekends where signs can be made while people shop or folks can buy the reflective numbers. If getting the signs or numbers are convenient, they will be more likely to buy and use them.

                            Advertise your success. Nothing hits home during the campaign like a story where the numbers may have saved a life. Use that to your advantage.

                            There are lots of options, but the key is educating folks why they are important. Develop a slogan. Develop a plan. Look for the media in your community and use it. Find a way that's convenient to get the signs or reflective numbers in the hands of the public. Advertise successes.

                            Good Luck.
                            Train to fight the fires you fight.


                            • #15
                              We have had success with Eagle Scouts doing house numbering as their final project. Good pricing for supplies with the local hardware store and the department pickup truck. This would also be a great project for your junior or explorer or cadets whatever you call them. It's hard to say no to a polite uniformed young gentleman or lady knocking on your door,with the FD pickup in the end of the driveway.

                              Try this.....

                              Good morning we are canvasing your street today and noticed your mailbox was lacking the correct numbers.
                              ( If appropriate; are you aware of the local code or ordinance? )
                              I have a whole selection right here with me, I would be happy to apply them for you.
                              We have negotiated funding for this through our local hardware store (mention their name) the letters only cost $.. apiece. If you would pay for your numbers that would allow us to help more in our community. If you don't have the $.... right now or don't want to pay would it still be alright if I put numbers on your mailbox. (nice guilt trip here, c'mon who doesn't have a "fiver" in the cookie jar)

                              I also like the idea of the "door hangers" mentioned earlier. If you are on their street don't miss the opportunity just because someone is not home.


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