Some of the older areas of Hilton Head Island have antiquated or inaccurate addresses that can frustrate emergency crews. Unclear markings, overgrown bushes or addresses that don't match the town's records can lead to fire trucks stopping by three or four houses before locating the right one.
Law, the president of the association that covers Marshland, Chaplin, Candy Doll Bluff and parts of the Singleton and Mathews Drive areas, contacted the town's Fire and Rescue Division about a year ago to try to match the maps the town uses with the addresses on the streets.
Some residents of the mostly native island area live in trailers or mobile homes and may have post office boxes or mailboxes grouped together on a street, Law said, but no clear addresses. Others had been using street numbers that were different than what was on the official town maps, she said.
Law and other members went door to door to more than 100 homes to reconcile the address issues. Some residents had emotional attachments to their addresses, so the town offered to change its official maps in some cases.
"Even though you may have used that number for a long time, that is not the number the town has for you," Law said. "The idea behind that is if there is an emergency, you want to get help as fast as you possibly can."
The association began paying the $37 for the small, reflective address plaques to install on residents' lawns to help sort out the addressing problems. At first some residents were reluctant to participate, but once they saw other houses getting address plaques, they jumped on board, Law said.
The addressing problem is prevalent in other areas, particularly native island neighborhoods where the homes and families predate roads and fire departments by generations, said Suzanne Brown, the addressing technician for the Fire and Rescue Division.