FAIRBANKS, Alaska - In the middle of winter, the darkness can make it hard for first responders to see your house number. The Fairbanks North Star Borough Emergency Operations and local fire departments are providing reflective house number signs for residents to combat this issue.
When first responders are called out to an emergency, one obstacle between them and the emergency can be finding the house. Fire Chief Frank Bracken says reflective house number signs make houses easier to locate.
"People call us because they have an emergency, and the shorter amount of time it takes us to get there, the better we can mitigate their emergency," he said.
This is why the Fairbanks North Star Borough and local fire departments are working together to provide these signs to residents in the borough. In the rural areas where mailboxes are grouped together, and there are multiple houses on your road, you may need one or more reflective signs to best identify your house.
"If you live down a road that has quite a few spurs off of it, you may have to put one at the main road, one at a fork maybe with an arrow, and then one at the driveway of where the house is," Bracken said.
When you get your reflective sign, it's important to verify your address to make sure it's the same one in the 911 system. You can do this here at https://gis.fnsb.us/portalarcgis/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=d48fcb5fc878472f977159844f136b01 .
"Sometimes people use addresses that are incorrect or they've heard it from the previous owner or heard it from the previous owners or heard it from the postal department, but we just like to verify that address and make sure it's the same one that's in the 911 system," said Bill Witte of the Fairbanks North Star Borough Emergency Operations.
If you live in the Chena Goldstream fire service area, you can call the Chena Goldstream Fire and Rescue to request your reflective house number sign.
"They call up, they give us the numbers that they need, this one is 3561. The background is reflective. The numbers are solid, so they're easy to see, and then we put our sticker on it so they know they're part of the Chena Goldstream fire area. It's one of those little community things that we can do to help better the community, make our responses a little bit more easier, and be able to get to people's emergencies a lot sooner," he said.
Bracken says if they go on a call to a house that is hard to find, they will sometimes return later to install a reflective sign to help find the house faster in the future.
To request a reflective sign, you can call the Fairbanks North Star Borough Community Planning department at 459-1260, drop into the borough's administration building, or visit your local fire station.