Is Your Number Up!

Youíve Just made a 911 call. Your life or that of a friend or even a stranger may be in jeopardy. It may come in the form of serious illness, or injury. It may be in the form of domestic violence. It may be a minor or catastrophic fire.

The trained Dispatcher on the line does the best job they can to obtain your information. There is no amount of training that can ready them for some of the behavioral "pitfalls" people can (understandably) experience during these harrowing moments.

Black Hawk County is equipped with the Enhanced 911 System (E-911). This, simply stated, means when a call is received at the E-911 center, an on-screen display shows the address and telephone number you are calling from. This system sounds "fool proof" so far. However, there is one link in the chain that is missing. That is where we need your HELP.

As Emergency workers, we are dispatched to respond to your location.

No matter how diligently we strive to get to you, we canít find you. There are several other agencies, which sometimes respond with us, and they too are looking. All without any luck. Meanwhile, you are wondering where we are and why the delay. We are not people who can, nor will, demand anything of you. However, in an effort to bring to you the best, most rapid and effective response to your "Emergency" needs, we would like to ask your assistance in helping us find you.

Yes, we said find you! Drive down any street or road in any town and look at how many houses are not numbered. Or, note the numbers of houses that only have numbers on the mailbox, and they are only on one side. Or in the rural areas look and see how many rural numbering signs are visible. In the event of an emergency, the Police, Sheriff, Fire department or Emergency Medical Service (EMS) does not always come from the way the mail is delivered. Also, note the size, color or the condition of the numbers.

In an effort to help, we would like to make a few suggestions. Numbers should be at least 3 inches tall. If on a mailbox, they should be placed on both sides of the mailbox and on homes or businesses prominently displayed. Even though it is not required that the numbers be reflective, can you imagine how helpful this would be?

The fact will remain that most Emergencies do not happen in the light of day or in the best weather conditions. Usually this is not the case.

With these facts in mind, we believe that you can realize what a frustrating dilemma this situation can be. To help those responding, we need you to make sure that your address is visible from the street. Making sure that you use highly visible contrasting numbers that standout. 

One last thought before we go. If someone you know, namely the elderly or disabled, were to need these services and you were not there to "flag down" the responding personnel, would you know their house number? Is it marked?

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