Prague’s lampposts hide a safety feature

The code numbers that give the location will be modernized this year

Most people have probably never noticed that almost every lamppost or lighting column in Prague has a code number on a small metal plaque. These numbers are along streets as well as in parks. In all, there are some 130,000 numbered posts.

The city’s emergency services including police, fire and ambulances, have a database of these numbers. If someone needs emergency assistance and does not know what street they are on, they can give the number from the nearest lamppost and the operator should be able to find the location.

Prague City Hall will be modernizing the number plaques and updating the database during 2019 to make the system more effective.

“We have a database of these numbers that is accessible to the components of the city’s Integrated Rescue System. Emergency telephone operators are therefore able to locate the caller very quickly when he or she reports the number of the nearest public lighting column. In practice, it helps a lot,” City Councilor Jan Chabr (United Force for Prague), responsible for city property, said in a press release.

The exact details of the improvements to the system are not yet known, but they will include the introduction of more modern technology such as QR codes so emergency responders can react faster.

With a QR code, someone could report an accident by using a smartphone to scan the code on the pole.

“It’s about not having to tell the operator the number on the label. This will make the process faster. The introduction of QR codes and other information could facilitate the work of the Integrated Rescue System. We are still discussing it with representatives of rescue services,” Chabr said.

The system of numbered poles has proven to be particularly important in traffic accidents, where people are particularly unlikely to be aware of the exact location. It is also useful with giving the locations of injured or sick people in public areas.

The existing number plaques are still valid, and the six-digit numbers can be used in case of emergencies.

The numbers start with the number of the city district. Poles in Prague 3 start with a 3, for example.

The public lighting system is managed by Technologie hlavního města Prahy, which was founded in the middle of 2018 as a fully city-owned entity. The company is also working to introduce Smart City solutions to make lighting more effective and efficient. The company will be cooperating on the introduction of the new plaques.

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