How Prague's Lampposts Help Save Lives

Every lamppost in Prague has a six-digit number posted at eye-level, and their purpose serves a greater importance than you might think

Dave Park

Written by Dave Park Published on 12.09.2016 15:26:56 (updated on 12.09.2016) Reading time: 1 minute

If you walk through the streets of Prague, you might notice a 6-digit number printed at eye level on each lamppost throughout the Czech capital.

That is, if they aren’t covered up by flyers promoting events or other services.

But did you know the reason for these numbers?

They aren’t just ID codes – they’re used by emergency services to help pinpoint locations when a caller is unable to give an exact address.

“Last year, we identified 1,757 locations via the label on the lampposts,” Dominik Horn, a spokesperson for Prague Emergency Services, told Blesk

“If a caller does not know the exact address, the dispatcher will direct them to go to the nearest lamppost and read the number plate. It is then entered into a database and we are able to precisely locate the caller.”

Those stickers, flyers, and other pieces of advertising that might be stuck to the posts and covering up the numbers, in that case, might be a potential hazard to people in need.

“Of the roughly 135,000 lampposts [in Prague], illegal flyer-posting regularly occurs in about one-tenth of them,” Pavel Donev, a representative from El Todo, told Blesk.

The company removes hundreds of illegal flyers from Prague lampposts every week, and coats the posts with a special paint that makes it more difficult for flyers to be stuck to them. 

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