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Seconds Matter

from the Tallahassee Fire Department | Photography by Dave Barfield

Imagine for a moment that you are a firefighter, commanding the fire truck down a dark and twisting residential street. The sirens and the lights reflecting off of every passing object are making it difficult to hear your fellow firefighters as they prepare for their response. The dispatch center is reporting that the 911 call was made by an adult who is performing CPR on her child and needs help fast. You turn onto the target street and begin to match the address from your GPS-enabled computer display with the numbers on the houses. Success! The numbers are easily visible on a mailbox and you rush inside to help.

Sounds stressful, right? Well it is, and unfortunately locating the address numbers on a residence or even a business doesn’t always turn out to be this easy. Roughly 70 times a day our firefighter EMT/paramedics are responding to a variety of emergencies across our community and one of the No. 1 challenges our first responders report is the lack of properly displayed address numbers. “Every second matters during an emergency,” says Tallahassee Fire Department Public Information Officer Mike Bellamy. “Take a look at your address numbers when you arrive home today to see if they are easily identified, it could save you your life.”

Here are some things to consider when displaying your home or business address.

  • Display your residential address where it is visible from the street. Be sure the lettering is posted near your front door and lettering is at least three inches in size. Posting the lettering on both sides of your mailbox will help your residence number be identifiable from a greater distance down the street. Even better, you can choose reflective numbers with a contrasting background.
  • For businesses and residential complexes with many addresses, multiple buildings should be identified with unique numbers or letters. Be sure the lettering is at least 6” in size and call in advance and provide gate codes and after hours contact information to the Consolidated Dispatch Agency at (850) 606-5800.

For more life safety information visit talgov.com/fire.

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