It is the height of the package delivery season as UPS, FedEx and US Postal Service try to beat the Christmas gift rush.

However, a key issue has been raised among delivery service members and more importantly, emergency first responders; houses not having their address numbers physically on their residence.

"The address numbers are part of the fire code requirement," Dodge City director of development services Kevin Israel said. "The numbers need to be in a conspicuous area on the front of the property.

"They need to be on the structure itself, mailboxes won't work.

"As for multi-structure locations like apartments, they need to be shown on both the mailbox and the structure as required by the Postmaster."

For first responders, not having your address posted properly could be life or death.

"When it comes to newer public safety officers," Dodge City Police Chief Drew Francis said, "not all of them grew up here and I have only a few that have been here 20-plus years.

"So a lot of my guys with 3 years or under experience aren't quite familiar with exact addresses that aren't posted.

"We can get into the general area of where an incident could be taking place but if we are having to take more than 1 minute trying to get the right house while someone is bleeding out, it becomes a life and death situation.

"We also run the risk of kicking in the wrong door depending on the type of call officers are dispatched to."

To combat the issue, Israel said that when a complaint is filed or is found out by a property maintenance officer, a courtesy letter from the city is sent to the property owner.

"We send the letter and they have 30 days to fix the address," he said. "If 30 days lapses and nothing happens then we send another letter.

"If after another 30 days passes and the issue still isn't fixed then we will cite the owner."

Israel did indicate that first-letters to owners have had a high success rate.

"Last year I think we filed 25 citations for non-responsive owners," he said. "I really don't like having to cite people but we will."

For the city, the requirements for address numbers are that they must be a minimum of 4 inches in Arabic numbers or alphabetical letters.

They also must contrast from the type of paint the house is on.

"We can't have green numbers on a green house," city manager Cherise Tieben said.

With the holiday shopping moving more and more towards online, when it comes to deliveries, not having your address marked could lead to packages not being delivered.

Some delivery drivers have indicated they have had to walk along neighborhoods using a flashlight in order to find the correct address.

For Ford County officials, the issue is just as much a concern.

"It is bad for medical calls, fires and domestic battery calls," Ford County Sheriff Bill Carr said. "There are some residences that are behind another residence very close together and if that house isn't marked than we have to deal with that.

"It's just as much an issue for us with civil process deliveries too.

"It effects several different layers for us."

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