Warwick Fire Chief: Address markers will improve emergency response

  • The Warwick Fire Dept. is currently selling reflective standardized address markers like this one. Recorder Staff/Shelby Ashline

Recorder Staff
Thursday, November 23, 2017

WARWICK — Hoping to ensure quick response times to fires and medical emergencies, the Warwick Fire Department is encouraging residents to purchase standardized address markers.

Fire Chief Ron Gates said the department purchased 100 green reflective signs, similar to those used in nearby towns, like Shutesbury, in an attempt to streamline first responders’ search for individual homes, particularly at night.

“The town of Warwick, not unlike other surrounding towns, has very poor street lighting, making it very difficult to identify the house address when responding,” Gates said.

When traveling on unknown roads, locating a number on a house proves difficult, Gates said, as most residents have only a small 1½1/2- to 2-inch number on their mailbox to ensure daytime mail delivery. Gates estimated that about 70 percent of his department’s calls come in at night, and finding a home can be even harder for mutual aid services who aren’t as familiar with Warwick.

“Even with a GPS, when you are trying to get to someone and time matters, it is helpful to see an address ahead of the GPS saying ‘You are arriving,’” Gates explained. “(Having standardized address markers) literally could give emergency services time to save a life.”

Gates encourages residents to purchase the standardized address markers, which are easily seen by emergency responders and are placed at the entrance to a house’s driveway. The Fire Department adds the necessary white numbers upon purchase.

Residents interested in buying an address marker are encouraged to contact any member of the department, call Gates at 978-544-8052, or visit the station, located at the intersection of Orange Road and Hastings Pond Road, on any Tuesday at around 6 p.m.

The markers are $15, and the metal post is $5. Gates said firefighters will help install the markers if needed.

About 20 markers have been purchased so far, Gates said. If he can garner enough support, Gates plans to propose a bylaw requiring standardized address markers in Warwick, which may come before a future town meeting.