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Can Emergency Responders Find You?

Senior Center House Number coordinator Alice Gray sorts out the latest batch of house numbers for local residents

In the middle of the night, an emergency strikes your family and the seconds that tick away as you wait for the emergency responders seem like hours. The phone rings and the 911 operator asks you to go outside and flag down the responders because they are in the neighborhood, but can’t locate your address…

This situation occurs several times every year in the Estes Valley, but might be avoided by clearly posting an address that is readable by someone that has never been to your home before.

Many home owners post their addresses with attractive brass numerals affixed to a wood panel, or on the house trim. Some choose to use a decorative stone or plaque tucked into the landscaping near the driveway- and yet other residents post a reflective aluminum panel that doesn’t fit into the surroundings whatsoever. Guess which one the fire engines see first as they urgently scan all of the houses for a readable house number at 2 a.m.?

The Estes Park Senior Center isn’t in the business of responding to emergencies in the middle of the night, but they provide the single most effective piece of the solution to the problem of finding your home: reflective house numbers. The senior center happened into this project almost by accident in 1996 when Mark Igel, a local sign maker was looking for a test market to try his idea of fabricating this type of sign for a fund raiser package that groups around the country could use to raise money and provide a valuable community service. The Senior Center director at the time, Tobi Hale, was seeking fund raising ideas to help build a new facility. The two got together and began to offer the signs to the Estes Valley. Since then, the Town of Estes Park enacted a law that requires all homes to have a legible address posted, and the fund raiser idea has taken off across the US for Igel’s company.

Today, the Senior Center continues to offer the signs for sale, with a part of the proceeds benefiting ongoing Senior programs. Senior Center coordinator Alice Gray takes orders and passes them along to Igel for fabrication. The signs are generally ready for pick up in less than a week. Currently, four numeral signs are $22, and five digit signs are $27- all are maintenance free, blue reflective aluminum signs with white numerals.

Don’t delay taking a close look at your house number: Would someone that had never been to your home be able to find your address easily? In the middle of the night? Your life may depend on it.

You can reach the Senior Center to order a sign at 970-586-2996, or visit the Signs of Life website to see a picture of the house number sign at

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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