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Is Your Home Visibly Numbered?


If They Can’t Find You, They Can’t Help You!

Orange CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) urges you to consider the following information seriously.

We all hope we will never have to call 9-1-1 for an emergency, but if and when we do, we’re assured help will arrive quickly.  With this in mind, ask yourself this very important question.  Is my house visibly numbered?  Most of you will answer yes, and while you may have a number on your mailbox, there are several guidelines that need to be considered to ensure your home can be located by Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Service personnel quickly and without delay.  Precious minutes can be wasted if responding agencies cannot locate your home due to inadequate numbering or in some cases, none at all.  Remember, if they can’t find you, they can’t help you!

Orange CERT offers the following information to assist you in numbering and marking your residence.

  • Do you know how large the numbers must be? It’s recommended to use at least 4 inch high or larger, plain block numbers on a contrasting background.
  • If you are numbering a curbside mailbox, reflective numbers work best, but make sure it’s on a contrasting background, for example: never black numbers on black mailbox, etc.  Number BOTH sides of your mailbox so it can be seen in both directions.
  • When the mailbox is located on the opposite side of the road from the home, the number should be displayed directly on the house or a sign or post at the entrance to the driveway as well as on the mailbox. Place the recommended 4 inch high numbers on the house where readily visible from the road and where view is not blocked by trees or shrubs.  Any private signs or posts that display house numbers should be at a height of at least 3 to 4 feet.
  • Do not place numbers on utility poles or trees or within the road right of way. Not only is this inconsistent with most local laws, but emergency personnel don’t usually look to those areas for the house number.

Other suggestions:

  • If you have an emergency and need to call 9-1-1, they will take all the relevant information from you, and may give you some specific instructions. Follow their instructions!

Here are a few general suggestions that might help.

  • Turn on your porch light or front door light, even in daylight, this will increase visibility and aid rescuers in finding your home.
  • If it is safe, and an extra pair of hands is available, have someone wait outside to flag down rescuers when they arrive. Just make sure they stand in a safe area and not in the street.
  • Secure your pets. This will avoid delays in confronting protective or scared dogs, or prevent indoor pets from inadvertently being allowed outside when rescuers enter your home.
  • Check with your town to make sure you are in compliance with all local laws and recommendations. Orange CERT is constantly preparing and training to assist local police, fire and EMS personnel in the community 24 hours a day, 367 days a year.  As dedicated volunteers we also feel it’s a good idea to educate the public on safety and preparedness issues.  Visible house numbering is just one of the most important areas and hope the preceding information is helpful to all.  For information on Orange CERT, please visit our website at




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