The Importance of House Numbers


Every house has an assigned identifying number that displays your home address. Although these numbers are important for the mailman and guests visiting you, house numbers are crucial for emergency personnel when responding to the location of an emergency.

When 911 is called to report an incident or emergency, dispatchers receiving the call have a key job to do by determining where the emergency is taking place. The call takers must then relay the location to the proper emergency responder such as law enforcement, the fire department, or ambulance. While emergency personnel are responding to the location of the incident, they are relying on accurate information from the dispatcher to ensure that they are going to the correct address.

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There isn’t always someone available to wave down a police office or a firefighter and direct them to the location of the emergency, so the emergency personnel responding are depending on those numbers in front of a residence or business. It is difficult for emergency vehicles to find homes or businesses whose address numbers are not clearly visible or properly posted. Searching for the location where the address is not appropriately marked can increase the response time and possibly affect the outcome of the situation.

Places to Post House Numbers

  • Directly on your house or apartment.

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  • By the street on a post or sign made of fire resistant material.

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  • On a mailbox or curb.

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Rural Addresses and Businesses

  • If your home is set back from the street and cannot be seen when at the road, post the house numbers at the entrance of your driveway.
  • If there are multiple houses that use the same driveway to access their home, each address should be posted at the entrance of the driveway and then again at each individual home.


    • Make sure the numbers are large enough and can be easily seen from the road. Numbers should be at least four inches tall.

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  • Numbers should be in a contrasting color from the color of your house so the address stands out and can be quickly spotted.
  • Select numbers that are easy to read and not in a cursive style design.
  • Keep trees and plants trimmed to not block the house numbers.

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  • Install a light above the numbers or use reflective numbers so the address can be noticeable at night.

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  • It is not recommended to post the numbers on the front door or the garage as you may have it in the open position and not visible.
  • Although numbers displayed as words may look unique, it may be difficult to read and is more appropriate to display the numbers in numerical format.
    • Example: Use “123” instead of “one two three”
  • Maintain your house numbers.
    • If your house numbers accumulate dirt, wipe them off to keep them clear and visible.
    • If you have painted house numbers, touch them up as they begin to fade or chip.
Try standing at the road in front of your house. Check if you can easily see your house numbers. If not, make the necessary changes to properly display your address.

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Response time is critical, and the time it takes to pinpoint a precise location can mean the difference between life and death. Can lifesaving personnel find you?

For more ideas on ways to improve your home inside and out, check out Turning Your House into a Smart Home.

Photo credits: Pixabay, Sasha Staton

Sasha, mother of one, never has a dull moment with her wild child and prefers it that way! Previously a law enforcement officer, she is now the spokesperson for a fire department. Sasha lives in Daytona Beach, Florida and enjoys running, shopping, and pool parties.

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