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House numbers should be in spots easily seen, emergency workers say

Police officers, fire fighters and other emergency workers are encouraging Letcher County residents to put their street addresses in a visible location so their homes can be found quickly when needed.

“People need to number their houses and make sure their 911 signs stay up,” said Tony Watts, public affairs officer with the Kentucky State Police Post 13 in Hazard.

Watts said it is necessary for residents to properly number their houses “so emergency personnel can get where they need to go as quickly as they can.”

“People just don’t understand how important it is for emergency personnel to know where people live,” said Watts. “Seconds turn into minutes and minutes into hours. It could be a matter of life or death.”

Letcher County Coroner Wallace Bolling Jr., who is also a member of Neon Fire and Rescue Squad, said that when house numbers can’t easily be seen, “it knocks the response time.”

“It’s a big hindrance to the ambulance services, police departments and fire departments,” agreed Jim Revis, Letcher County 911 coordinator. “They are looking for that number to be posted out there. It just wreaks havoc and they can’t pinpoint where you are.”

Bolling is asking residents to place house number signs close to the highway in plain view. Bolling said it is helpful when addresses are placed in big letters on a mailbox.

Watts said county road signs that are missing also make it more difficult for emergency personnel to find a residence.

“That’s a huge problem with every county,” said Revis. “You get a new ambulance driver who doesn’t know the area and at night they are trying to find a hollow and someone has torn down a sign.”

Watts said it is a criminal offense to steal a county road sign.

“The charges could be enhanced if it caused injury or death,” said Watts.

Revis said the goal of the enhanced 911 system is for emergency personnel to get as close to a residence as possible.

“We have always wanted them to be able to get to the front door,” said Revis.

To report missing road signs, call 633-3322.

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