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Makanda Township Supervisor Sara Lipe holds a blank sign on Tuesday at Makanda Township Fire Station. The signs can be made at the station. 

MAKANDA — Local firefighters and first responders may face difficulty before they arrive at the scene of an emergency call.

“Sometimes we have difficulty finding an address,” Sara Lipe said.

Lipe, who serves Makanda Township supervisor and volunteers with Makanda Township Fire Department, added that it is not hard to find a home with flames coming out of the roof. However, when the call is a medical emergency, like a heart attack, the situation is different.

“It is so frustrating for the caller and the person who needs help,” Lipe said.

For example, seven or eight mailboxes may be grouped together. Without marking on the homes, emergency personnel cannot tell which house goes with which mailbox. Signs may get damaged over time or lose their finishes.

Lipe said the situation is particularly difficult at night, or during periods of low visibility like rain or fog.

“Everyone in our department has had that experience, even though there is GPS in fire engines and brush trucks,” Lipe said.

To combat the problem, Makanda Township Fire Department is selling signs to mark homes. The signs are made of blue reflective metal with white numbers, similar to blue information signs along highways.


Makanda Township Fire Department is selling address signs like the one that shows the address of the fire station on Old U.S. Highway 51. 

“We don’t have an ordinance. We’d rather use the incentive of EMS being able to find your home,” Lipe said.

The signs are $15 and can be made at the township fire station at 5420 Old U.S. Highway 51, just south of the intersection of old and new U.S. 51. The department has one full-time staff person who is on duty from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If those times are not convenient, Lipe suggest calling 618-549-0213 to make arrangements to meet at another time.

Signs are available to anyone who wishes to buy one. Sign purchase is not limited to Makanda residents.

“We’ll sell them to anyone,” Lipe said.

Signs come with simple instructions on how and where to install them. Options include on a mailbox or post near a home or directly on the house, depending on an individual’s circumstances.

“The point of all of it is just to find people more quickly,” Lipe said.



Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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