Is Your Home Address Properly Marked in Case of an Emergency?

by Abbey Gerveler

In a time of crisis, people depend on emergency personnel to arrive as quickly as possible. Even with Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL), which uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) to allow dispatchers to see where police patrol units and emergency response vehicles are located at any given time, an unmarked or poorly marked home address can add precious moments to response time.

Rural residences in Ralls County, Missouri are not required to display addresses. While some municipalities, such as Center have passed ordinances requiring citizens to properly mark their home addresses with the failure to display resulting in a fine/fines, others have no law specifying residential signage. Ralls County 911 Emergency Services sees this as a serious concern.
“Common sense says that responders need to be able to find you in an emergency and your home address is really the most important piece of information we use to find you,” says Ralls County 911 Emergency Services director Mike Hall. “It’s absolutely critical that people and businesses have their numbers posted where we can see them. If it were up to us, everybody would have clear address numbers posted so that their house is easily identifiable quickly. It can be a life and death thing.”

No matter where you live in Ralls County, the Ralls County 911 Communications Center recommends following specific signage standards, such as making sure your numbers are unobstructed from view and clearly displayed both day and night. Town residents are advised to display large house numbers beside their front door that are clearly visible from the road, while rural homeowners should display four-inch high reflective numbers on both sides of their mailbox.
If there is no mailbox or a residence is located far away from a mailbox, an individual road sign is recommended and can be purchased at or by mailing in a form to the 911 Communications Center location at PO Box 454 New London, Missouri 63459. “It’s not required, but it could certainly be a lifesaver,” says Hall. The Communications Center offers reflective black and white signs customized to your address for $15.00, signs with post included at $25.00, and help with installation upon request.