Tuesday, August 5, 2014
If you don’t have a visible numeric address on your house, don’t be surprised if you get a ticket. Williamsburg County Emergency Management Division (EMD) Director Tiffany Cooks said they would soon begin to issue warnings for those who do not have the required 911 addresses displayed in plain view. Cooks presented the information during a July 21, Kingstree Town Council meeting which is part of an ongoing effort to inform local municipalities of their ongoing projects.
It’s not uncommon to see emergency responders riding up and down streets with their blue or red lights flashing. They aren’t on a joy ride; rather, they are more than likely searching for an address that isn’t posted. “We need citizens to post those numbers, make them visible,” said Cynthia B. Williams, EMD Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordinator during an interview at the agency. “Especially when we live in a community that has “Circles” and “Loops.” We’ll call them and they’ll say, I’m in the third trailer. Well, is that the third trailer on the left or the third trailer on the right? At what end of the Loop?”
In order to combat the problem, the county is enforcing state law. According to the state code, numbers must be conspicuously placed immediately above, on, or at the side of the appropriate door so that the number is visible clearly from the street. In cases where the building is situated more than 50 feet from the street or road, the building number also must be placed near the walk, driveway, or common entrance to the building, or upon the mailbox, gatepost, fence, or other appropriate place so as to clearly be visible from the street or road.
Keonta Moore, EMD Chief of Planning, is in the process of identifying business properties and making contact with the owners to gain vital information that will go into a database for emergency management as well as E-911. “In the event something should happen and an officer needs the owner, or the first or second person to respond out here, we’re capable to contact someone that can respond to the business.”
Residents, businesses, owners, or others who fail to comply with this subsection are guilty of a misdemeanor, triable in magistrate’s court, and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than $200 or imprisoned not more than 30 days. Each day in violation constitutes a separate offense. First-time offenders will receive a warning giving them 21 days to comply. “I don’t think our citizens realize how important emergency management is,” said Linwood Cooper, EMD Public Information Officer. “I recently spoke to a resident that was upset because it took so long for the ambulance to get to her house...First question was asked; do you have a house number visible? She said oh, I really don’t know.”