First responders: make sure house numbers are visible

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POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A reminder from sheriff's offices around the region, and from first responders - homeowners make sure your house numbers are easy to see from the street.

Some areas, like Franklin County, said it has seen more and more homes without visible house numbers in recent months. Local first responders said it's an important reminder that sometimes goes overlooked.

Take a look outside at your house number. Can you tell what it is? Can others? 

If it's not easy to see for you, it's not for first responders either. The Pocatello Fire Department said having a visible house number is key.

"I think that's a problem for all areas, I think that's something that we take for granted over time," said Kim Stouse, community education specialist for the PFD. "Maybe one of the digits falls off and we think, 'Oh we'll get to it, it's not that big of a deal.' But you never know when an emergency is going to happen. In an emergency, seconds count, so if we can pull up and find the address they're going to be able to get there quicker, start interventions, and be able to assist whoever it is that needed the help. If we have to try and look at the adjacent residence to determine if that's the appropriate house we're supposed to be at, that's going to add to the time."

Stouse said there are a lot of things that can obstruct house numbers.

"Sometimes the snow will blow over the house numbers and it will make it hard to see," Stouse explained. "If you have tall shrubs or people put out decorative signs or flags, sometimes those can obscure the numbers on the residence."

She also added that numbers could have simply fallen off, become faded and hard to see, or just have been put in a bad spot altogether.

"If you can't see it from your street, we're probably not going to be able to either, so it's probably time to either repaint them or replace them," Stouse added.

Stouse said some tips are to remember not to have the number the same color as the house or it will blend in and be hard to see. If it's dark outside and you call for help, if you're able, turn on the porch light to help illuminate the house and the number.

The fire trucks have very little light to be able to see in the dark, so anything can help. 

Stouse added that international fire code requires homes to have an identifying house number. The code states numbers must be at least four inches tall and at least half of an inch wide. 

Stouse said if your number is on a mailbox, same rules apply. Make sure it's visible and the numbers are in good condition and can be seen. She said if it's on a mailbox, make sure it's clear which house the mailbox and that number go to.

Stouse said another thing to remember, and one Pocatello sometimes sees often, is if your house sits back off the street, or you have a long driveway, make sure there is some sort of marker near the road to identify what house and where for emergency responders.

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