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Helping the helpers... Gore Volunteer Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer Steve Lee urges residents to ensure their home's street number is clearly visible on their letterbox. PHOTO: MARGARET PHILLIPS

Missing street numbers and cases where they are not in numerical order can hamper emergency services’ efforts to locate addresses.

Gore Volunteer Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer Steve Lee said in most streets the odd numbers were on one side and the even numbers on the other, but that was not always the case.

The top of Broughton St, in Gore, was one instance of this.

He asked residents to ensure their street number was clearly visible on their mailbox.

“Those numbers are vitally important to us.”

While the Gore brigade had not encountered any major problems in this regard, it was helpful if people remained calm and gave detailed information when they called the fire service, he said.

It was helpful if people gave directions to the nearest intersection to the address the service was being called to, he said.

Those calling needed to be specific when giving an address – for example, saying if it was a leg-in section and giving the full address, including A or B.

“Let us know if it’s a back section.”

In the case of a fire, the brigade might be able find the address easily because of the evidence of the fire.

But it might not be able to find it in the case of medical emergencies and other non-fire events, which made up the majority of callouts.

“More of our volunteer brigade callouts are responding to non-fire events.”

Being able to respond to callouts in a speedy manner was vital, Mr Lee said.

The Rapid numbers in rural areas were also vitally important for emergency services, as they told responders how far along a road the property was, he said.

“We know from the Rapid numbers how many kilometres we have to go.”

to have someone stand at the gateway of rural properties to show emergency services which driveway to use.

Mr Lee said farms had several driveways and it could waste time if the brigade drove down the wrong one.

A St John spokeswoman agreed with Mr Lee’s comments.

She urged residents to ensure their homes had visible street numbers, if not on the letterbox then painted on a fence or other visible surface.