Having your address correctly displayed on your mailbox could give emergency responders the extra few seconds needed to save someone’s life.
Making it easier for first responders to find your address is helpful in emergency situations for a number of reasons.
"Anytime you can narrow down time for response is always a plus," said AJ Elmer, patrol sergeant of the McPherson County Sheriff’s office.
As a patrol sergeant, Elmer often sees first-hand that there are many things that come into effect if addresses on mailboxes aren't displayed correctly.
"It helps if they're clearly marked, especially at night time as its always harder to see addresses. For example, if you're out in front of your yard and something happens to you and you yell for help and someone driving by sees you and they stop and you happen to go unconscious, you want it to be clearly marked enough where the good Samaritan would be able to see your address and call 911," he explained.
When Elmer first began his job as patrol sergeant, he responded to an emergency situation without a clearly displayed address.
"When I first started working here I wasn't familiar with the county. I got sent on a call where a woman was over dosing on medication. There were a whole bunch of trees on both sides of the road. When we were driving down the road and I could see the mailbox, there was no address on it. I went down the road to see if there were any other addresses and there weren't. I went back to the first one and sure enough it was that house I was supposed to go to. If it would've been marked, I could've came to it quicker and rendered aid to help her out," he explained.
Elmer said he is surprised at the number of mailboxes that aren't marked correctly in McPherson County, making jobs difficult for first responders.
"It's kind of a hit and miss. With my job, I'm driving around at night most of the time. If someone has a mailbox marked, they just have it on one side. For example, if they have it marked on the south side and I'm coming from the north, I'm not going to see it until I pass it. But if I'm able to see it as I approach it, that will help me be able to get there quicker," he added.
Elmer noted that black colored mailboxes tend to blend in with night time, but reflective numbers on them can be easily spotted.
"If they have white on black and they put those on both sides of the mailbox, that would stand out quite a bit at night. Reflective numbers are also excellent to see," he said.
Another thing Elmer mentioned that can catch first responders’ eyes is a green reflective sign with white reflective letters.
Not only are colors and reflective lettering important when looking to put your address on your mailbox, but where you put the address is just as important.
"If there's a lot of snow outside, keep them free of snow. If the grass grows pretty quickly and you have bushes around it, keep them cut so we can see them," he said.
When picking out mailbox address numbers and house numbers, Elmer offered some good rules to follow.
— If you have brick on the front of your house, don't choose white coloring, as they tend to blend in.
— Address numbers should be four to six inches in size when placing them on your mailbox.
— When placing numbers, emergency personnel prefer to have numbers placed directly on the mailbox as it makes them easier to see higher up versus on the pole of the mailbox or in the yard.
— Place numbers on mailbox and on your house if you have a long driveway or a shared driveway to ensure emergency personnel are at the right place.
— Choose contrasting colors for your mailbox and numbers and reflective lettering.
— Place address number on both sides of your mailbox so when emergency personnel are coming from the opposite side, they know which address it is.
— Don't place addresses on the front of the mailbox, only on the sides.
— Don't choose bronze house numbers as they are hard to see at night.
For more information, call the McPherson County Sheriffs office at 620-245-1225 or visit their website at http://mcphersoncountyks.us/Directory.aspx?did=81or visit their Facebook page.
Contact Brooke Haas by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.