Ill. Firefighters Encourage Easy-to-See Address Signs

July 15, 2013
Downs Fire Department firefighters are frustrated by delays when they can't find homes because they can't see address numbers. They've decided to do something about it.

July 15--DOWNS -- For Downs Fire Department Emergency Medical Services Coordinator Scott Bettisch, nothing is more frustrating than being on a rescue call and not being able to find the address of the house where the call originated.

"One time, we took the ambulance out through some of the subdivisions and in a 10-minute drive, we found about 30 different residences where we could not see the address at night," he said.

After the department had several incidents where insufficient addressing slowed their response time, officials decided to begin an awareness sign campaign. Through the month of July, the department will be selling high visibility address signs.

The signs are blue, 18 inches long and six inches wide with highly reflective white 3-inch-high numbers that can be seen from long distances, especially at night, Bettisch said. The signs conform to the McLean County Planning Commission sign code.

"When you are on a call, time is so important in those situations," said Laura Willis, an EMT with the department. "Sometimes, you just can't see or find the numbers on the houses. There are some addresses, particularly in the country, which are not labeled at all."

The cost per sign is $30 including delivery and simple installation. A portion of the proceeds from the signs will go back to the fire department to help train firefighters and purchase new equipment, Willis said.

"Our biggest priority is making sure that everyone has the proper address signage and some people don't even realize that it is an issue until they need help and we can't find their house," Bettisch said.

Orders will be sent in Aug. 1, and after that, more orders will be sent as they come in.

"The awareness campaign is going to be strong this month, but after that, it's really a continual process," Willis said. "We are always going to be trying to raise awareness about this."

Order forms are available through the Downs Fire Department at 102 W. Main in Downs, or by sending your name, address, telephone number and email address to the department. Other questions can be answered through Willis at (309) 378-2021.

Copyright 2013 - The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.

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