By Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND COUNTY - For emergency responders, every second counts. That's why a new law will soon require people living in Midland County to make their home addresses visible from the street. On Friday, NewsWest 9 took a look at what you need to do to comply.
"Just to help the emergency vehicles find them just in case there is an emergency out there. Not just the residents but also the commercial areas that don't have their address displayed on their structures on their property," Mandy Martin, GIS Technician with Midland Emergency Communications District, explained.
Soon Midland County residents will start hearing more about making sure their home has a posted address number. A new state law (State House Bill 2665) being implemented by County Commissioners requires every home in Midland to have a visible, readable address. Mandy Martin with the Midland Emergency Communication District said smaller or unreadable numbers have gotten to be a real problem for crews during emergencies.
"You want to make sure your house is labeled so there's no question as to where you are," Martin said. "I know there have been times when someone has had to flag the Fire Department down to say here we are here we are, and what if you're the one in need and there's no one there to help you to show the emergency vehicles where to go."
So, here are the new rules, which take affect May 1st:
-Every resident, whether residential or business, will be required to place their Physical Address Number on their structure in a conspicuous manner so it may be readable from the road. If the home is located too far back from the road for the number to be seen and read at night, the number must be placed on a post, fence, or other means close to the road.
-Address number must be a minimum of six inches in height and two or more inches wide; color shall be reflective on a contrasting non-reflective background.
From what NewsWest 9 could tell, most people appear to have numbers smaller than the requirement. But when our crews went by several retail stores Friday, it was tough to find any numbers six inches in height. Apparently, we weren't the only ones.
"I just figured after work, I'd make a quick trip to the hardware store because the article said you could just run to a hardware store and grab them for 50 cents or something, [as if] it would be real easy to get," Pam Sikes, who lives in Midland County, told NewsWest 9 outside of Midland's Home Depot.
Sikes said she feels in limbo about getting her numbers. Home Depot told NewsWest 9 they plan on ordering the bigger numbers. Between now and May 1st, she's hoping it will get easier to find what she and others will need by law.
"Well, I kind of thought thousands of people in the county are going to be fined," Sikes laughed. "At 500 dollars a piece, that's not going to make anybody to happy when we can't help it."
County officials told NewsWest 9 if by May 1st, you don't have the appropriate sizes and numbers on your home, it will be a Class C misdemeanor. Midland Emergency Communication District officials said they want to get the word out about all the requirements, and will be sending out flyers in the next couple of weeks.
For a physical address assignment, or to verify your physical address, please contact the Midland Emergency Communication District at 684-9911 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.