The Gordon County Fire Department has initiated a program to help save lives by making it easier for emergency personnel to locate addresses during an emergency.
The fire department is offering marker posts with your address number displayed in highly reflective material and large numbers.
According to Firefighter Jonathan Pressley, drivers of emergency vehicles have a hard time finding homes with poorly displayed house numbers. Homes off of rural streets and densely packed housing, such as mobile home parks can be a real challenge at night and can delay the arrival of help by several minutes.
Assistant Chief Byron Sutton, the department’s Operations Chief said, “It’s not real difficult to find a home during a fire as homeowners are usually outside waving us in. It’s the medical emergencies where the caller has to stay with the patient, or the caller is the patient and can’t assist us with locating their residence. These are the responses where we need those residential address numbers highly visible to our responders. Those few extra minutes it may take us to find you could very well affect the outcome of your emergency.”
“Everybody thinks their mailbox numbers are sufficient, but they aren’t,” said Firefighter Pressley. “They might not be reflective, or they might be too small.” Chief Sutton agrees with Pressley, “Most people don’t understand how important proper display of their address is. As you drive down the road, look around and take notice of all the mailboxes without numbers, or partial numbers missing. What about those homes who do not even have a mailbox because they get their mail in a Post Office Box at the Post Office? Usually, it’s the mailman and the emergency responders who notice the mailboxes with numbers only on one side, are on both sides but are too small to read, or aren’t reflective. This means responders have to stop to check the box numbers. If that box isn’t yours and you’re waiting on medical aide, responders are wasting valuable time starting and stopping. “Most citizens aren’t aware that posting their structural number is a Gordon County Ordinance,” said Chief Sutton. “Most homeowners just really don’t think a lot about it.”
Pressley proposed the idea to Chief Sutton after the successful program at a previous fire department he has worked. “I did it previously at another department I worked for, and I thought we needed them here,” said Pressley. “I told him I thought it was a great idea and asked him to present the idea to the Prevention Division of our department,” Chief Sutton said. Inspector/Lt. Dotti Payne, with the department’s Fire Prevention Division, is enthusiastic about the idea. “I think it is a fantastic idea,” said Payne. “Anything that will help us locate our citizens faster in any type of emergency is a great idea.”
Other communities have passed or started enforcing ordinances that require address numbers of certain types and sizes. “Although it is a county ordinance, our intention here is not to enforce the ordinance, but rather one of helping our citizens help us find them when, and if the worst day of their life comes and they need us,” says Chief Sutton.
For a tax deductible $20 donation, residents can receive a marker post with numbers and fire department personnel will come to your house to install the post. “It’s a small price when seconds count to increase your safety; it will help us find you,” said Chief Sutton. “Your $20 donation will go back into our Fire Prevention Programs for the kids in our county. With the economy and budgets of today, the materials we use to teach fire safety to our kids are becoming hard to come by.”
If you’re interested in placing an order for a marker post, please call Headquarters of the Gordon County Fire/Rescue Department at 706-629-8851.