THE SQUEAKY WHEEL- Sign language: What happens when one's missing?

Show me a sign

An alert Hook reader contacted me about no street signs in the recently constructed Poplar Glen neighborhood off Ivy Road in Albemarle County. ''How can my friends find me?"' was one concern. The more pressing– and perhaps life or death– question: "How can emergency responders find me?'' 


Your response times may vary

Recent discussions in Charlottesville and Albemarle about slowed emergency response times have prompted consideration by City Council to spend about $1 million to provide additional emergency response capacity to the currently all-volunteer Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad. Having a clearly identifiable destination where emergency care is needed is critical to rapid response. Adequate signage is key for first responders, and lack of signs is a violation of E-911 requirements.

Daniel J. Fowley III, engineering inspector for Albemarle County, was contacted, and he ordered that temporary street signs be installed until permanent ones could be created. But, despite assurances of quick action by both the county and the developer, the response time until any signs were installed was almost four weeks.

In the current emergency service debate, it's clear that even a few minutes of avoidable delay are critical in E-911 situations. A four-week delay in providing legally required signage might have jeopardized a life.


What is a resident to do?

If you move to a multi-phase development in Albemarle County and no street signs have yet been installed, or if signs are missing in your established neighborhood, you should contact Fowley at 296-5816 to get immediate action. You can also call the E-911 hotline at 972-4074 and leave a detailed message of what is needed.

Don't hesitate to keep calling until the problem is resolved. A sign may not appear to be a big deal at first, but your action might just make a life-saving difference for one of your neighbors.

Signs, signs, nowhere signs.