Can Your Home Be Located?

Do you live in a rural area? Would your house be difficult to find in the dark? Be sure we can find you in an emergency. It’s dark and rainy and the call to 911 has dispatched an ambulance to your home. The responders are in the area using their map book to locate your residence but your home is located down a long driveway with several other residences and there is no clear marking indicating which home is yours. Would you want this to happen to you?
In an emergency, when every second counts, the speed that help arrives can mean the difference between life and death. It would be reassuring to know that your address marker could be easily seen.

North Whatcom Fire and Rescue is requesting that all citizens in our community take a moment to look at their homes or businesses and identify if it is clearly addressed.

Many communities have ordinances that require homes and businesses to display a street address defining the size and type of numbering to be used. In Whatcom County the International Fire Code (IFC) 505 is the address requirement that is followed. For your residence you are required to have both the house and the mailbox clearly marked- the house should have four-inch (4″) numbers in a contrasting color and mailboxes should have no smaller than one-inch (1″) numbers on both sides.

If your house is not visible from the road then you are required to have an address post at the main road or driveway and at the intersection of each driveway (example- a lane with four residences, each with a separate driveway off of the lane). The numbers need to be visible from both directions, be contrasting in color, reflective, should be a minimum of three-inches (3″) high and clearly displayed. The address should be clearly readable at night at 100 feet or more by vehicles traveling on a main roadway.

For apartment buildings, address numbers should be at least 4″ high (6″ is even better) contrast with the background they are mounted on and be visible from the street. Individual apartment numbers should be posted in an obvious and conspicuous place.

Many apartment or commercial building complexes utilize an addressing system that incorporates directional signage as well as individual building and suite numbers. If you live or work in one of these complexes check and see if your address is clearly marked at the entrance to the complex, the building and the individual suites.

To assist the fire department or other emergency personnel please check and make sure your address is not obstructed by plants, shrubs or trees and that all numbers are in place (none missing or damaged).

Making sure you and your family can be located during an emergency is important to all of us. Make your fall and winter project to make your home more visible. You could also help your elderly neighbor or family member by checking to see if their address is visible in the day and at night.

North Whatcom Fire and Rescue is beginning a campaign to make sure homes in our area have reflective addressing.

The materials- reflective numbers, contrasting reflective background, posts and other items needed to install or replace your address numbers can be found at most local hardware stores. Safety Home Address is one company that is located in Whatcom County that specializes in manufacturing of reflective addressing products for all locations (apartments, single residences and multi family driveways).

For information about SHA and pricing:

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