Each week, reporter Patrick Donohue will post reports from various public-safety officials in Beaufort and Jasper counties on his "Serve and Protect" blog. This week's post is written by Lee Levesque of the Lady's Island-St. Helena Fire District.
How fast is fast enough for emergency services when you call for help?
Did you know that most fires double in size every 30 to 60 seconds?
And medical professionals tell us that brain damage begins after just four to six minutes without oxygen. So it stands to reason that we should do everything we can to get help to those in need as soon as possible, right?
One of the biggest issues facing local emergency responders is addressing.
We can surely get to any road or street in the county with minimal delay, but once there, it can be extremely difficult to identify which home is in need of our assistance without proper addressing. .
And what is “proper” addressing?
Well, the law requires every structure to have a visible address; it also prescribes what it should look like.
Here is an excerpt from Section 505 of the International Fire Code:
505.1 Address numbers. ALL buildings shall have approved address numbers, building numbers or approved building identification placed in a position that is plainly legible and visible from the street or road fronting the property. These numbers shall contrast with their background. Address numbers shall be Arabic numerals or alphabet letters. Numbers shall be a minimum of 4 inches (102 mm) high with a minimum width of 0.5 inch (12.7 mm) per numeral.
Emergency services are not in the business of writing tickets for violating this code, we are in the business of protecting you and improving your chance of surviving danger any way we can.
Please take a few minutes to look at your home from the street. Is your address posted at both at the street and on the structure? If it is not, please consider helping us help you. For a very small financial investment, you can improve the chances of survival more than you could ever imagine.
If you have questions or concerns about addressing, please feel free to call or stop by your local fire station. Firefighters are always prepared to help in any way we can and our advice and help is free.
Remember, the life you save could be your own.