How to Ensure that Police, Fire, or EMS can Find Your House in an Emergency


When you call 9-1-1 because you have an emergency, minutes can seem like hours as you wait for that police officer or firefighter or paramedic to show up at your door. Everyday across the USA emergency personnel lose precious time getting to the location where they are needed because they can't locate the home or business: house or business address numbers were not readily visible from the street.

Things You'll Need:

  • House numbers, 4" in height, available at hardware, home improvement or department store, if you're going to mount directly on your house or place of business.
  • Free-standing sign post to mount 4" numbers to if you need to locate your street address number closer to the street, e.g., you have a long driveway or your house sits more that 100 feet off the street

Place your address and phone number near all phones in your home or business.
When you dial 9-1-1 for emergency assistance, the Communications Officer who answers your call will ask you for your name, address, your telephone number and the nature of your problem. When under the stress of an emergency, e.g., a family member having a heart attack or someone is breaking into your home, being able to remember simple things like your address and phone number can become impossible without help.

Address numbers on a house
If you place your address numbers on your home or business, ensure that they can easily be seen from the street. Make sure there is good contrast between the color of the siding and the color of the numbers, e.g., black numbers on a dark brown siding will not work. Keep in mind that you want emergency responders to be able to see your address numbers even if it is dark and raining!

Address numbers on a free-standing lamp post near the street
If your home or business sits more than 100 feet off the street, you will be better served to place the numbers out near the street on a free-standing sign or lamp post.

Free-standing address number sign marking driveway

If you have a long driveway that leads back to your house, place a free-standing sign at the end of your driveway. A sign that is reflective or distinctive in nature will make it easier for emergency personnel to know that they've found the correct address when they can't see the home or business from the street.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure the numbers are at least 4" in height. Any smaller and they will be difficult to see at a distance.
  • Make sure there is good contrast between the color of the numerals and the color of the background where you are placing them.
  • Keep in mind that you want emergency responders to be able to find you regardless of the available light or weather conditions. Make it easy for them.