When an emergency happens, every second counts. You don’t want those seconds to be spent by emergency responders trying to find your house because you haven’t properly displayed your address on 911 address plaques. The good news is you just need to follow 10 simple steps to help ensure you can be found when an emergency happens.
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This video goes over how to display 911 address signs.
While 911 address sign requirements vary by city and county, in general, it is best practice to use reflective address signs for end of driveway, on mailboxes, and even on your home.
Step 1: Know Your 9-1-1 Address
Your 9-1-1 address is used by first responders to locate you during an emergency. If you recently built a new home, live in a rural area, or are unsure of your 9-1-1 address, contact your county’s 9-1-1 addressing coordinator to obtain it and to ensure your home is on the map.
Step 2: Be Visible from Both Directions
Posting your address number on your mailbox makes it easier for responders to find you, but remember, numbers should be posted on both sides of the mailbox. Emergency vehicles may not arrive from the same direction as your mail carrier.
In addition to posting numbers on your mailbox, the entry to your driveway should be marked with your 9-1-1 address numbers if the mailbox sits across the road from your house.
Step 3: Be Visible in the Dark
Responders may need to find you at night. Illuminate any numbers on your house at nighttime. Numbers on a mailbox or post at the end of your driveway should be reflective and on a highly contrasting background to ensure they’re easy to see at night.
Step 4: Use Large Numbers
When creating 9-1-1 address number signs, use numbers that are at least 3 inches high.
Step 5: Locate Near the Road
If your house is not visible from the road, it is important that you post numbers on a sign, post, or pole so they can be clearly seen from the road. If your house is hidden from view at the beginning of the driveway, only posting numbers on your home does not help responders recognize where you live as they are driving by. It is not recommended that you post the number on a gate or fence at the driveway because those numbers aren’t visible when the gate is open.
Step 6: Post Twice on Long or Shared Driveways
If your driveway leads to more than one address, post all numbers at the end of the driveway. Then post the correct number on each house or building.
Step 7: Uncover the Numbers
Remember to frequently trim any bushes, weeds, flowers, or grass away from your signs so that all numbers are clearly visible. If you have hanging flowers, flags, or other items on your porch that block your 9-1-1 address numbers from being seen quickly by responders, move them.
Step 8: Shared Mailbox Area
If your mailbox is located on a community post with other mailboxes, it is extremely important that you also post your address at the end of your driveway. It is difficult for an emergency responder to know which house is yours when there are shared mailboxes in an area and no signage on your driveway to identify your home.
Step 9: Buy or Make Your Signs
Remember, in an emergency, seconds can make a life-saving difference. Make sure your 9-1-1 address numbers are posted on your house or business and are also posted where they are easy to see from the road. You can purchase street numbers and 9-1-1 address sign kits at most hardware stores, department stores, and online. Some fire departments also have 9-1-1 address signs available for you to purchase. If you decide to make your own sign, remember to use reflective numbers so they can be seen at night, as well as during the day.
Step 10: Test It Out
Finally, drive the road to your house in both directions during the day and at night. Pretend you’ve never been to your home before, and see how quickly you can spot your 9-1-1 address numbers as your approach your driveway and then your home.