House numbersSafety issue
City of Washington Fire Chief Tom Wide said that during an emergency every second counts. To that end he asks for people’s help by being sure to prominently display house numbers so they can be seen from the street.
Wide said there have been instances where emergency services have been delayed to a site when the house numbers either weren’t posted on the house, or were so small that they couldn’t be seen from the road. He said many emergency calls happen at night, and encourages people to post house numbers conspicuously so they can be seen.
“There are getting to be more and more houses without numbers,” Wide said. “People are redoing houses and the numbers aren’t going back up. Or if they are, they are small numbers.”
He said that Washington code requires homeowners to have the numbers posted on the front of the residences.
Wide also said residences without numbers also cause problems for emergency medical teams and police officers. He said that there have been instances where the responding fire departments have gone past a house because the numbers weren’t clear on the outside.
“We get into the right block, but then we have to narrow it down,” he said. “The last two or three calls we have had have been like that. You know what block they are in, but then you pull up and there is a row of houses with no house numbers.”
He said that the lack of numbers becomes a safety problem.
Wide said that the code mandates the size the numbers need to be. He recommends people use colors that will contrast with the color of the house.
According to Washington code 150.02, the owners are required to obtain a building number assigned to the principal building from the city engineer. The code says the numbers must be installed and maintained on the building “in a conspicuous place to the street.” The figures are not to be less than 2-1/2 inches in height and in contrasting color to the background. If an owner fails to comply for a period of 20 days after being notified by the city, the city may place the assigned number on the building and assess the costs against the property for collection in the same manner as a property tax.