The New Brunswick 9-1-1 project began in October 1994 and was fully implemented in September 1997. At that time, New Brunswick was the second jurisdiction in Canada, and fourth in North America to establish a province- or state-wide enhanced 9-1-1 system. To make this valuable service work, a system of civic addresses had to be established.
A civic address consists of the number, the street or road name, and the community name assigned to residential, commercial, institutional and industrial buildings. These addresses are not randomly generated; they are assigned with a great deal of planning in mind.
According to New Brunswick Regulation 96-104 under the Emergency 911 Act, every owner of a residence or business in the Province of New Brunswick must display their civic address number in a way that is clearly visible from the main roadway leading to the home or business.
Civic numbers should be displayed:
- In a high position that has year-round visibility, but low enough to be seen with vehicle headlights at night;
- In a place that does not become obstructed by growing bushes or trees;
- In a colour that contrasts with the building, mailbox or signpost that it is attached to (reflective numbers are best); On the same side of the road that the building is located on (if your mailbox is on the opposite side, it would be best to have an additional civic number sign on the same side as the building for emergency purposes);
- In a size large enough to be easily seen from the road (recommended minimum of 4-inch height);
- In a manner that is readable from both directions.
It is vitally important to always display a valid civic address number so emergency service providers, such as police, ambulance and fire departments, can find the address quickly. It is not just 9-1-1 emergency services that use these numbers; Canada Post and other delivery services use them too. If you don’t have a visible number, Amazon won’t be able to deliver that special purchase.
So, what do you do if you build a new building but don’t know your civic number? If you live in a city, town or village, contact your local municipal office for your civic number. If you live outside a municipality, in a rural or unincorporated area, such as a Local Service District, contact the NB 9-1-1 Bureau (1-888-353-4444 or NB9firstname.lastname@example.org). They can help determine your civic number. Note: You should never assign yourself a civic address. This could cause confusion and you may not be found in an emergency. All civic numbers have to be registered in the system properly for it to work. Also, you may end up with the wrong postal code and have problems receiving your mail.
Highly visible reflective civic number plates, commonly known as ‘blue number plates,’ are the best format for civic numbers. The local fire departments use the sale of these signs as fundraising activities so the proceeds stay in the community.
To get them, simply stop at the Alma, Riverside-Albert or Hillsborough Fire Hall when you see us there or you can call:
Hillsborough: Troy Collins 506-874-2990 or Donald Alward 506-875-2902;
Riverside-Albert: Danny O’Hara (Schultz) 506-870-0409;
Alma: James Lyman (506-852-6347)
Whether you need a new number to begin with, want to add a second one for visibility, or have to replace the one destroyed last year by a snow plow, we would love to hear from you.
Remember: To help you, we have to find you! Stay Safe!
Donald Alward is the Fire Prevention Officer at the Hillsborough Fire Department.