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Sprucing Up
Your Mailbox or Building Number Can Save Your Life

With a spin on the old saying, “There’s safety in numbers,” American Medical

Response (AMR) asks families and businesses to improve mailbox address and building numbers as part of their spring fix-up.

“Even with GPS, mailbox markings and building numbers are vital to ambulance crews, fire departments and police responding to your emergency,” said Steve Peacock, AMR Central Mississippi operations manager. “A mailbox or building number that’s easy to see from the road by day or night can be a lifesaving landmark. Plus, delivery services, repairmen and utility companies can also save time getting to you. Spring fix-up is a great time to improve your mailbox address and building numbers.”

AMR’s tips to help public safety responders find your house or other building:

  •  Replace or repaint faded mailbox addresses and building numbers.

  •  Colors of numbers and letters should contrast with the background they are against.

  •  Numbers and letters should be at least four inches tall.

  •  Use numbers and letters that reflect emergency vehicles’ headlights and spotlights.

  •  Place building numbers where trees, shrubs, hanging baskets, chimes or other objects won’t block them.

  •  If your home or other building is on a corner, post numbers facing both streets.

  •  Do not rely solely on a house or building number painted on the curb or planted in the lawn on a low sign. For more security, also post the numbers over the doorway or elsewhere up on the building. Parked vehicles, tall grass, leaves and even running water can obstruct rescuers’ view of curb numbers and signs at ground level.

More advice on mailboxes:

  •  Put your family’s last name and street address on your mailbox.

  •  Mark mailboxes on both sides because rescuers might not come from the same direction as your mail carrier.

  •  Cut tall weeds and grass blocking the view of your mailbox.

Peacock said, “If your building number is hard to spot or the mailbox is poorly marked, your rescuers may take longer to reach you. In a life-threatening emergency, every second is precious to the patient’s survival.

Bottom line: Your rescuers can’t help you until they find you, so make sure your number is up!”

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