When first responders are called to your home or business for a police, fire, or medical emergency, time is often of the essence. The last thing you want when you are urgently waiting for our assistance is for the police officer, firefighter, or paramedic to be trying to locate your home because the address isn’t properly marked or visible.

The Town of Scarborough has a local ordinance (#309 which is accessible on the town’s website) pertaining to street naming and addressing. That ordinance states that the chief of police is responsible for approving street and development names, primarily for E911 addressing and to avoid confusion with similar sounding or spelled names throughout town. The town assessor is responsible for assigning street numbers to individual properties according to standards outlined in the ordinance such as odd numbers on the right side of the street and even on the left.

The ordinance goes on to specify that house and business numbers must be at least 4 inches in height and made of materials that are reflective or which contrast with the background materials so that the number is visible after dark when illuminated by an ordinary flashlight from the street. In cases where a home sits back from the main road and the house number isn’t visible you are required to number your mailbox if you have one, or install a street number sign so responders know where to go.

Naturally those requirements are the bare minimum. The police and fire departments encourage all homeowners to install large, reflective, and clearly visible house numbers on both their homes and their mailboxes because mailbox numbers are often quicker and easier to see at night than numbers on a house.

If you need assistance obtaining and/or installing house numbers please give our office a call at 883-4542 and we will send someone over to your home to provide assistance.

As a first responder who has spent nearly 45 years trying to locate the scene of an emergency at an improperly numbered home I can tell you first hand it is frustrating and often slows response from those you are counting on for assistance. Please take the time to look at your home. Are your house numbers at least 4 inches tall? Are they reflective or do they contrast with the background so that you can read them from the street with a flashlight after dark? Are they located by a porch light that will help to illuminate them? If you have a mailbox at or across the street from your house have you affixed your house number to the mailbox in reflective numbers?

If your answers to those questions concern you, please help us to help you by making the necessary corrections, and don’t forget to call if you need assistance. Our fire xxplorers are always looking for ways to get out into the community and assist in any way they can.

If you have any questions about this article or any fire department issue, you may contact me at [email protected] or 730-4201.

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