Street signs and house numbers critical in emergencies -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Street signs and house numbers critical in emergencies


By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

THOMAS COUNTY, GA (WALB) –Officials in Thomas County say more and more people are removing street signs and putting lives in danger in the process.

Without street signs and clearly-marked house numbers, it could take emergency personnel longer than necessary to reach someone who needs help.

Now county officials say they're going to start fining people who don't comply with the addressing ordinance.

Two weeks ago, someone in the Oak Hill mobile home subdivision needed medical attention. But a missing street sign caused a delay in the EMS response time.

"Sometimes the emergency vehicles have a hard time coming down," says Ernie Deibert, an Oak Hill resident. "It was that bad."

"By the time they stop and ask and try to look around, they lose precious minutes in a heart attack, severe bleed, or lack of breathing," says Granvil Jones, the Thomas County 911 Addressing/Mapping Technician. "Minutes matter."

So county officials are going door to door and handing out notices to people breaking an ordinance requiring proper numbers on houses.

"At some point down the road when we start enforcing this, those are going to be the houses we hit first," Jones promises. "And they're going to have to appear in court before a judge and pay the fines."

Even owners of private roads can be fined if there's a missing street sign.

We didn't know the name of this street because there's no sign. But using a piece of technology that many of us are familiar with, a GPS, we were able to figure out that it's Margaret Street.

But officials say that even GPSs can fail in an emergency.

"There's different factors, different projections that they use," Jones explains. "And unless they can convert those projections to what we use, they're not going to match up."

So county officials are urging people to report missing street signs. But people living in the Oak Hill subdivision say trouble makers keep tearing them down.

"They put the street sign up once and it wasn't but a month and they did it again," Deibert says. "They tear the signs down and throw them in the ditch and then it's just gone."

Leaving people here hoping emergency personnel will remember where they live.

Officials say they'll help people with severe financial trouble or medical conditions get numbers put on their houses.

For more information on the addressing ordinance, call (229) 227-3242.

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