The Importance of House Numbers

This entry was posted Wednesday, 28 November, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Buildings must have address numbers plainly legible and visible from the street fronting the property.

House numbers are not only convenient for finding addresses but necessary for emergency responders to locate those in need. When responding to an emergency, minutes matter so be sure that fire, ambulance, and police personnel can easily and quickly find your address.

The 2006 International Property Maintenance Code, which the City of Harrington has adopted, requires in Section 304.3 that buildings be numbered:

Premises identification. Buildings shall have approved address numbers placed in a position to be plainly legible and visible from the street or road fronting the property. These numbers shall contrast with their background. Address number shall be Arabic numerals or alphabet letters. Numbers shall be a minimum of 4 inches (102 mm) high with a minimum stroke width of 0.5 inch (12.7 mm).

It is recommended that all Harrington residents take a few moments to install house numbers or examine existing house numbers. Be sure that the numbers are easily read from the street. Consider the following:

  • Script numbers or numbers that are spelled out in words may be aesthetically pleasing but are difficult to read quickly from the street.
  • Brass or bronze numbers are difficult to see. Use numbers that contrast with the background.
  • If the house is located more than 45 feet from the street, the numbers should be displayed on a fence, mailbox, or other appropriate place that will make it visible for approaching vehicles.
  • Be sure that the view of the numbers is not obstructed by shrubs, trees, or decorations, such as flags.
  • Numbers should be clearly seen when approaching from either side of the house.

If the numbers on your house are not visible or easy to read, it will take emergency personnel longer to reach you. Those extra minutes spent trying to locate a property can mean the difference between life and death, so take the time now to be sure your house numbers are able to be seen from the street to help emergency responders find you faster.