Law enforcement officers and firefighters sometimes feel like they're groping in the dark when it comes to finding the right rural residence at night.
"Have you ever gone down a dark alley with a match?" was how Lecompton Fire Chief LeRoy Boucher described it.
Inadequate address markers are often a problem, Boucher said. "Especially if it's storming, you can have difficulty."
And that's why the Lawrence Lions Club is selling reflective address markers for use on mailboxes or mailbox posts, said Martha Roush, club program chairwoman.
Douglas County Sheriff's Office and local fire departments have endorsed the reflective markers.
"They are very excited about it," Roush said.
The markers sell for $15 and benefit the Lions Club. Sales began in March, and about 100 of them have been sold.
Douglas County Sheriff's officers also sometimes struggle to find the right addresses at night, Patrol Supervisor Lt. Don Crowe said. Good reflective markers could make a difference.
"It would speed up our response times," Crowe said.
Some residences have names and numbers displayed in black lettering and can be seen only by an officer shining a spotlight on them, Crowe said.
County ordinances do not require reflective address markers. They only require that either the residence or driveway be clearly marked. There are no plans to change those ordinances, County Commissioner Jere McElhaney said.
"First I want to see how this goes," McElhaney said of the Lions Club effort.
He said the county had a pretty good mapping system available to law enforcement officers and firefighters.
"They carry a book in their vehicles," he said. "It's pretty accurate and easy to read."
Crowe agreed but said sometimes simply being able to clearly see the address made a difference, day or night.
"There are times when we've come upon three or four driveways that are real close together, and if an address isn't on one, then it could be hard to find," Crowe said.
The markers are 6- by 18-inch blue signs with 3-inch reflective white numerals. The following locations have markers for sale:
Wakarusa Township Fire Dept., 31st and Louisiana streets.
Anderson Rentals, 1312 W. Sixth St.
First Church of the Nazarene, 1470 N. 1000 Road.
Or call 887-6008.