Borough fire chief: House numbers must be more visible

MONTGOMERY — Low-visibility house numbers have raised concern with the borough’s fire company, Chief Brad Harding told Montgomery Borough Council Tuesday night.

“Just drive around the borough,” Harding said. “During the day it’s OK, but at night, it is hard to see many of the house numbers.”

He added that clarity of a specific address could mean precious seconds between life and death.

Police Chief Ernie Delp agreed and said if an officer is called to the scene of a domestic issue, he must be able to find the right house.

“Every second we are spending looking for an address, we can be stopping a crime,” Delp said.

Harding asked council if it is possible for stricter enforcement of the issue. Benjamin Landon, council solicitor, agreed to look into the matter.

According to council Vice President Fae Herb and Councilwoman Susan Andrews, an ordinance is in place from Lycoming County ordering that house numbers be at least 4 inches long.

“I would encourage people to get numbers bigger than that,” Andrews said after the meeting. “This isn’t just a fire issue, (a resident) could have a medical issue.”

She said if a resident suffered a heart attack, it would be difficult for paramedics or first responders to find the proper address.

Harding later was asked about the use of GPS in finding the correct address, but he responded that GPS is not always reliable. “It depends on what type of service you have,” he said.

He explained that some GPS systems could deliver some first responders to the proper address, while others do not.

“We need to figure this out,” he said, “especially when 30 seconds could mean life or death.”

In the meantime, he suggested residents purchase their own signs with reflective numbers.

In another matter, a resident asked council about a “series of burglaries” in the area. Delp commented that the matter was under investigation, but he clarified that it was just one burglary. He declined to comment further due to the investigation.

“We do not want to release any information at this time,” Delp said.

He encouraged residents to “lock your doors and do not leave valuables in plain sight — especially if they are in the car.”

In other business:

• Council voted unanimously to form a tech committee with Councilman Dale Brendle making the motion and Councilwoman Amber Wilt seconding it.

• Herb reminded residents of the boroughwide garage sale on May 19. She said residents may sign up, and a map will be produced for residents and shoppers.

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