Townships to get new fire number signs

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Delta County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Berbohm holds a mock-up fire number sign Tuesday. If project funding is approved by the Delta County Board of Commissioners, similar signs could be implemented in Delta County townships.

ESCANABA — Residences in Delta County townships could become easier for emergency responders to find if funding for a fire number sign project is approved by the Delta County Board of Commissioners.

Ryan Bergman, the county’s administrator, said a few townships in Delta County already have fire number signs similar to those that could be implemented as part of this project.

“We do have some townships that were able to get these already through other grants that are no longer available,” Bergman said. These include Masonville, Big Bay de Noc, and Ensign townships.

However, this is not the case for the rest of the county’s townships.

“They don’t have any signs like this,” Bergman said.

For these townships, emergency responders use street addresses to find residences. Delta County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Berbohm said that, while this is not inherently a problem, the non-uniform nature of street address signage can create issues.

“There’s no real consistency to aid responders to locate the difficult residences,” Berbohm said. A large part of this inconsistency lies in the signs’ various locations — some are located on mailboxes, while others are located on the residences themselves.

Berbohm said emergency responders in the area have been looking for a solution to these problems for over half a decade.

Bergman said the project could potentially resolve these issues. However, funding has not yet been officially approved.

“The board hasn’t actually taken action on anything,” he said.

If the project goes forward, Bergman said Delta County would provide $45,000 to townships for the signs and would determine parameters for the funding. This would not have an impact on the county’s budget, as the funds that would be used came from a Hannahville 2 percent grant.

“This is actually old Hannahville money that the county already has, so it’s our money to disperse,” Bergman said.

Participating townships would still have to cover a portion of the costs associated with implementing this project.

“They’ll have to either pay or raise the funds for their share,” Bergman said. They would also have to coordinate volunteer hours to install the signs.

If the board approves the funding, Bergman said Delta County will not be in charge of implementing this project.

“The project will have to be driven by the townships,” he said.