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Public Service Announcement


All the enhanced 911 systems, medical alarm monitoring services and 24-hour sitters in the world will do you no good if the paramedics cannot find your house among the dozens of other cookie-cutter homes on your block.

Do yourself a favor and invest another $30 in your safety and peace of mind, by going down to Home Depot and buying some 3-inch reflective numbers for your house AND your curb, and installing one of these:

That's a GE 3-position emergency light switch. Installs just like a regular light switch, takes about five minutes, if you're really slow walking to the breaker box. Up is on, down is off, and middle blinks the light on and off repeatedly, drawing the medics to your door like resuscitating moths to a cardiac arrest flame.

Well, it does if you install it on your porch light. If you install it on an interior light, there's just no helping you.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Ross

    Is that a standard sort of thing across the country that paramedics look for?

    • Ambulance_Driver

      It’s not something specifically taught. It’s a common sense thing. It’s all too common to be unable to find a house at night or in bad weather, because people don’t put up house or curb numbers, or the addresses are non-sequential, etc.

      When that happens, we usually have them contact the caller and have someone step outside to flag us down, or flash their porch lights.

      Believe me, when a medic is looking for a certain address, and one house on that block has a flashing porch light, he’s gonna go straight to that house. Works like a charm.

      • AJD

        And how well does it work with our mandated CFL bulbs?

        • Bobball

           Given that it simply turns the lights on and off, I’ll bet it would work fine…even in the winter (though the porch lights wont be as bright, they’ll be noticeable).

        • Voice of Reason

           Switch to an LED porch light.  Instant-on convenience with less power drain.  Works in any weather.

  • Jeff Rosenberger

    What a great idea.  Thanks to Amazon Prime, I’ll have one on Monday.

  • Christopher

    I think when used on interior lights it signals that a parrrtay is happening.

  • Matt G

    Word. I may reprint this in our local paper.
    And use my own by-line. ;)

  • JudyT

    So what do you recommend for those of us out in the country?  We have the numbers on the mailbox, but no curbs and the house is set back about 1/4 of a city block and facing away from the road.

    • Xale D

       Put a 4″x4″ post vertical in the ground at the end of your driveway with the house number on it.

    • Croaker260

      BIG numbers… with the name of the residence underneath. And keep the brush knocked down around the numbers. If your mail box is set away from the entrance to your driveway, then I would buy a 30 dollar sign to put by your driveway and I would also put those little reflective posts that stick inthe ground so they can easily see the entrance to  your unpaved driveway. I am very familier with rural EMS.

      • LittleRed1

         In some areas, putting your name on the house is frowned upon by the police as it makes it that much easier for burglars to get a phone number and call to see who is not at home. Big numbers – very good. Big name – not so good.

    • Jessicalynnnewyork

      These are used all over Florida. The blinking lights stand out in the dark and believe me, we find them and you.

  • Gerry N.

    I’m not an EMS responder, nor have I ever played one on teevee.  I did, however drive an Airport Shuttle in the Greater Seattle Area.  You’d be surprised how many people called us two weeks ahead of time to reserve space on a van, then got a reminderr call the day before, then turned off all the damn lights in and around the house making it nearly impossible to find them in timet o catch their flight. Of course it was all the driver’s fault, him not being able to see in the dark, and telepathically know which house it was in the cookie cutter development.  At least the dipsticks weren’t having heart attacks,  but you’d think so from the bitching and squealing when we finally got ‘em to the aerodrome just in time to see  their seats lifting into the  ether on the way to the Sandwich Islands.

  • Gerry N.

    Gerry N. again.  The only bulbs getting hard to find are the 120V 100W incandescents.  get some 75’s, say a case or two and a case or two of 60’s, and 40’s.  A few four packs of 25’s wouldn’t be out reason either.  Thass what I did.  I never had much use for the 100 W bulbs anyhow.  Oh, and get 130 V, not 120, they’ll last a coon’s age.

    There are myriad ways of getting around our masters in DeeCee.  They really aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer.

  • PARAMEDIC70002

    Short of having Mr. Blinky, I advise all homeowners to encourage their neighbors to get good number markings as well. Easier to find YOU if we can count up or down TO you. Oh and make sure your numbers face BOTH WAYS. We don’t always come the same way as the mail carrier.

  • Diana Sprain

    If you’re truly desperate, paint your house numbers in reflective paint on that old toilet  or bath tub on your front yard – – – – bright colors on the porcelain with the reflective paint over the colors for night. There, even rednecks can make it easier for emergency services t find their home in the country.