Archived Story

What’s your number?

Published 4:17pm Thursday, January 24, 2013

Missing house addresses complicate emergency calls

Although most houses are easily located by the address, some Tallapoosa County residences aren’t labeled with a house number – creating difficulties for street workers and emergency personnel.

“I hear from law enforcement, the fire department and EMS personnel from time to time that when they respond to emergencies, they have problems sometimes finding residents because they don’t have their house numbers posted or they don’t have their business address posted,” said Anita Haggerty, Tallapoosa County 9-1-1 coordinator. “It is a problem.”

Haggerty said she thinks one problem may be that lake homeowners don’t post their numbers because it’s a second home – it’s not where they receive their mail or live full time.

“It’s still very important to post their house number, whether they live here full time or not,” Haggerty said. “When they are here, they certainly could have an emergency and need either law enforcement, fire or EMS.”

Dadeville Fire Chief Kenneth Thompson said the problem has escalated since he joined the fire department more than 30 years ago.

“It’s a big problem,” Thompson said. “You get around the lake and you can’t find (the houses). A lot of times we just have to look for smoke … We just have to do the best we can.”

Haggerty said they encourage people to use at least 3-inch numbers and opt for reflective numbers on their mailboxes to aid in nighttime locating.

“If your house is not visible, it’s really important for you to post the number on your mailbox or at the beginning of your driveway, by the road,” Haggerty said. “Having that number can make the difference in an emergency.”

Haggerty said if people don’t know their house number, they can call the 9-1-1 office at 256-825-8490.

“You never know when you may have an emergency and need help quickly,” Haggerty said. “If emergency personnel are having to go up and down your road trying to find your location they’re losing time, and time can make a difference.”