Street signs work better on the post

Published 2:07 pm Tuesday, July 20, 2010

With street signs disappearing from their posts, emergency personnel are finding it harder to find the road to which they have been dispatched.

Pearl River County Fire Marshall Albert Lee said with more and more new Sheriff’s Department Deputies and volunteer firefighters joining departments, not everyone in the county knows all the roads. He has heard that some high school students are competing to see who can steal the most street signs, and that is making it harder for emergency personnel to find roads.

“It’s a growing problem and we need to address it quickly,” said Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Shane Tucker.

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Tucker said if someone is caught with the signs in their possession they can and will be charged, possibly with a felony.

A missing sign could cause emergency personnel to spend an additional 5 to 20 minutes attempting to find a road, Lee said. Not to mention the tax dollars that are being wasted to replace them. Lee said each aluminum blank used to create a street sign can cost anywhere from $24 to $40. When manpower is factored in, the cost could range between $45 to $80 per sign, including the time it takes Lee to make the sign and for road department personnel to install it.

Lee has noticed that some signs are more popular than others. In the past two years, Lee said he has made 21 signs for Gobblerhead Road because it is repeatedly stolen. He suggests an alternative to stealing signs.

“For the right price, we’ll make them a sign instead of them stealing it,” Lee said.

In the near future Lee said he plans to hold an amnesty day, where people who may be in possession of street signs can return them with no questions asked. Lee said even if a particular sign has been replaced, he can recycle the blank by removing the text from it and putting new text on it.

On a separate but related topic, Lee urged county residents to make sure their homes are clearly marked with their address. In instances where the mail box is in front of the home, the mailbox should have three inch reflective lettering and numbering.

Where homes have a mailbox as part of a cluster, Lee suggests putting an address sign in the yard or installing clearly marked numbers on the home. Lee suggests using contrasting colors if the numbers are to be placed on the home so they stand out.

Just like the presence of a street sign, having a home clearly marked will help emergency personnel find the home easily during an emergency.