Any machine or system is only as good and strong as the sum of its parts. We are blessed with the nation-wide enhanced 9-1-1 infrastructure. From any phone, with just 3 numbers, help could be on the way to your door. But what if every minute or even second was life threatening, and the emergency assistance couldn’t find where you were as quickly as needed? Smoke rising from the roof is easier to see from the road than someone with a heart attack needing CPR.
It used to be that when an ambulance was needed you called the rescue squad and, hopefully, the hard working volunteers could respond as soon as needed. Or when the chimney caught on fire after a winter of yo-yo temperatures, the fire department’s number was right in the front of the phone book. It used to be that when, in a panic, someone looking for immediate help simply said their name or said “…at the old Baker place”, and those responding knew just where to go.
That system worked well for many years, but times do change. New developments with additional houses get built, people move more frequently, or the fire department can’t find your house because you just moved into town and there is no number on the mailbox at the end of the driveway.
Now the community as a whole pays for the emergency services that we all rely on day and night, 365 days a year. They are services that you might never need or might desperately seek tomorrow. The funds that make these services possible are part of the property taxes we pay: Newport Ambulance Service close by on Johnson Plains, the shared Fire Department with North Hyde Park, and the Lamoille County Sherriff’s Office. Why not make their job responding to your emergency as fast, easy and straightforward as possible with just a few minutes of time and a few dollars? Let’s all put up a reflective green sign with our 9-1-1 identification number on it so that emergency responders can easily see it and know exactly where to turn for life-saving assistance.
Great, you say, but where do I get such a sign? Any individual can order a sign online, but that route tends to be expensive. A number of years ago, the Town did a bulk order that brought the cost down to under $10. These signs with reflective numbers are available at the Town Clerk’s Office. The cost to the Town for these signs is about $5 each, and the numbers are in the neighborhood of 50 cents each. Please consider helping our emergency responders to make it easier to HELP YOU!
If you have a neighbor who needs assistance ordering a sign or installing one, we will find a way to make that happen.
For more information on Vermont’s Enhanced 9-1-1 system, please visit their website: http://e911.vermont.gov/municipalities
Listed below are the Enhanced 9-1-1 Board’s standards for displaying address numbers:
(a) Address numbers must be a minimum of 3 inches high, 2-1/2 inches wide and reflective.
(b) A number shall be placed on the front of every addressed structure.
(c) Mailboxes shall be marked with the house number. Where mailboxes are not in front of the house or structure to be marked, a number shall be displayed on the structure, if it is visible from the road.
(d) If the structure is not visible and no mailbox is beside the driveway leading to the structure, a sign or number post shall be erected to display the number. This sign or number post could display the number either vertically (from the top) or horizontally (from the left).
(e) Shared driveways shall be marked both at the beginning of the driveway and where the driveway splits to each specific structure.
(f) In Vermont, it is very important that the address number be placed high enough that it will not be obscured by snow during an average winter.