Fire Rescue Stresses Importance of Visible Addresses

Bartow, Fla. (January 9, 2019) — Polk County Fire Rescue reminds you that having highly visible house or building numbers can help emergency responders save valuable seconds when locating a possible emergency.

With the evolution of modern GPS technology, displaying building and home numbers may not seem like something of great importance. However, there are several major aspects to take into consideration as to why having highly visible numbers is vital.

Wildfire season is rapidly approaching and having bright, visible address numbers posted at the end of a driveway in the less urban areas of Polk County is equally as important as having visible numbers on a commercial building or residence located in a highly populated neighborhood. These numbers should also be placed on a structure that is elevated off the ground such as a mailbox or fence post. Numbers painted on street curbs or structures lower to the ground can be easily blocked.  If first responders cannot find the area in which they are needed, they will not be able to provide possible live saving measures and could be the difference between life and death.  

In the more rural parts of the county, homes are often set back and well off the main road. Home and building numbers should be placed in a location that is highly visible from the main roadway. Without this vital visual aid in place, the process of locating an emergency is compounded and takes up valuable time.

Here are six guidelines to follow when examining whether or not your building numbers are visible and easy to locate:

  1. According to Polk County E9-1-1 Addressing Ordinance 04-89, home and building address numbers should be clearly visible and at least three inches in height to be clearly visible from the street or roadway while traveling in either direction at the posted speed.
  2. Numbers should be made of weather resistant materials and placed on a contrasting background, if possible a reflective coating on the numbers is recommended for easy visibility at night.
  3. Numbers should be posted as Arabic numerals. (ex: 3, not Three or III)
  4. Repair or replace aging address number placards, especially on mailboxes that are a distance from the front of the residence.
  5. Prune any bushes, tree limbs or other growth that has covered your house numbers.
  6. Finally, building or home address numbers should be displayed by permanently attaching them to the building front. In situations where the structure is not visible from the roadway, the building or home number shall also be permanently attached to a separate permanent structure such as a mailbox, post, wall or fence, provided that this structure is clearly visible and legible from the roadway upon which the building or home is addressed.       


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