Rural addressing allows 911 operators to help fire; ambulance and police find your home quickly in the event of an emergency. When seconds count, there is real peace of mind knowing that help is on the way - directly.
How does Rural Addressing Work?
Your rural address effectively provides an address and a house number for every household on your property. A rural address is not the same as a legal land description (which provides a land location, but does not identify individual residences on a property) or a postal address, which directs mail through Canada Post.
Rural addresses in Foothills County were implemented in 2009 using the existing street/avenue grid, where street and avenue numbers increase every 100 meters. Streets running north-south and increasing in both the east and west directions from Meridian Road (located on the fifth Meridian); and avenues running east west starting at 146th avenue (which aligns with the City of Calgary's 146th Ave south) and increasing southward. The rural address is essentially a coordinate that gives a street and an avenue and a distance from their intersection.
It works as follows: - The address has three parts: the reference street or avenue (perpendicular to the road which accesses the driveway), the address unit (a number between 1-260) which tells the distance the driveway is from the intersection and the access Street or Avenue (The road which provides access to the driveway).
The County has produced a detailed guide to how rural addresses are determined and assigned. Download the pdf by clicking here.
Once you have been assigned a rural 911 address, you may wish to install a blue and white address sign. The specifications for installing these signs is available here.
Q: What are the benefits of using a 911 Address over a Legal Land Location?
A: A Legal Land Location can tell you that a property is located somewhere on a specific quarter section, but a 911 Address will pinpoint the access to the property from a municipal or provincial road.. When a quarter section is subdivided there may be multiple landowners with the same Legal Land Location. In an emergency, a reduced response time can mean the difference between life and death.
Q: What information is required if I want to request a new or confirm an existing 911 Address?
A: The more information you can provide the better. A tax roll number is the best identifier for a land parcel.
Q: What do I do with my new 911 address once I get it?
A : Memorize it! Your new 911 address is primarily for emergency response. Post this address on or near every phone in your house and that you educate your children/other household members as to what your 911 address is, what it is for and how it should be used in the event of an emergency. If you ever need to call 911, give the 911 dispatcher this address.
Also, most service providers (TELUS, Shaw etc.) require this address as a site location in order to receive service. Please check with your service providers that this is the site location they have for you on file.
Q: Can the 911 Address be used as a mailing address?
A: No. Your current Canada Post mailing address will not change, so please continue using your existing mailing address to send and receive postal correspondences. Do NOT use your 911 Address on legal documents.
Q: Who assigns the 911 Addresses and who will have access to my address?
A: The 911 addressing information is assigned and maintained by the Foothills County GIS department. The addresses are shared with TELUS Communications, 911 Dispatch and Emergency Responders.
TELUS may publish your address in both "normal" and "reverse" telephone directories. Please contact TELUS Customer Service (310-2255) if you would like your 911 Address published.
Q: Is it mandatory?
A: No. In Foothills County, signage is not mandatory but it is highly recommended in order to ensure efficient response time in the event of an emergency. In order to receive service, many providers require an address be assigned to your land parcel.
Q: Where can I get a sign and how much do they cost?
A: The cost to have a blue 911 sign made is approximately $50 - $60.
There are many local sign-making businesses that operate within the County, some of which can be found in the list below:
Signs 'N' Such (Black Diamond) 519-8575
Moose Mountain General Store (Bragg Creek) 949-3147
Alberta Traffic Supply (Calgary) 248-3241
Schultz Signs (High River) 652-7815
Simply Extreme Signs & Graphics (High River) 278-8465
Spy Design (Okotoks) 938-2678
Q: Are there standards for the sign and its placement?
A: Yes. The preferred sign specifications call for a minimum 080 aluminum, engineer-grade medium blue reflective surface with reflective white lettering. This is to ensure visibility. Blue was chosen because in almost all cases of colour blindness, blue-yellow discrimination is retained. Most of the local sign makers are aware of the standards/specifications and will only require your address.
Your address has been assigned to the point at which the approach that leads to your residence joins the municipal or provincial road. Therefore, address signs must be installed as close to the approach and the property line as practical. The sign should be on the left side of the driveway as you exit your property, clearly visible from the road and not an obstruction for road grading, plowing or mowing. The ideal height is 4.5 to 5 feet to the top of the sign making it approximately eye level for traffic.
Signs can be mounted on entrance gates if available or on a light gauge steel u-flange post. Do NOT affix your sign to a municipal/provincial sign post! It will be removed.
Q: What if I share a driveway?
A: If you share a driveway, the driveway number - e.g. 272141 79 St W - should appear on a sign at the point where the driveway meets the Municipal or Provincial road. Each individual property should also have a sign at its entrance along the shared driveway, showing the suite number and the driveway number.
Q: What if the 911 Address I have been assigned is incorrect?
A: If you believe that an error has been made in determining your address, please notify us immediately and we will review the problem with you. Please note that driveway locations were identified using digital ortho photographs, and distances were measured on the Foothills County digital map. The accuracy of these measurements is reasonable, but it is not survey quality. Distances were measured following the road, including curves.