In every village, town and city I have lived in, the fire marshal was required to enforce codes that stated that all buildings must have building numbers prominently displayed. In Medford, when I search for a new address I usually take my lunch because so few buildings have these numbers displayed. It can take hours to locate some places. Do we not have such codes here?

In every village, town and city I have lived in, the fire marshal was required to enforce codes that stated that all buildings must have building numbers prominently displayed. In Medford, when I search for a new address I usually take my lunch because so few buildings have these numbers displayed. It can take hours to locate some places. Do we not have such codes here?

— Roland S., Medford

In fact, we do, Roland. According to the Oregon Fire Code, the address numbers should be clearly marked on houses and businesses so emergency crews (and, presumably, people searching with their lunch buckets) can find a building when they need to.

"It behooves them to have addresses up in the event of an emergency," said Medford fire inspector Debi Bisbee.

The problem is enforcement.

The fire marshal, engine crews and city code enforcement are required to bring the problem to the notice of homeowners. Bisbee said the local fire marshal is working on amendments to the Oregon Fire Code that could create a fine if someone doesn't comply. Bisbee said some homeowners have been reluctant to display numbers even though a house might be difficult to find if someone were having, say, a heart attack.

"It's an important aspect of safety," she said. She said the city would prefer not to fine anyone, but would like homeowners to understand the importance of complying.