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by Abigail Van Buren

Flashing Porch Light Makes Your House Quick to Find

DEAR ABBY: I would like to tell you about an item that helps emergency vehicles locate a particular home. A "911 Locator" light switch can be purchased in many hardware stores. It is a three-position light switch that replaces the standard one which operates the porch or yard light. In the bottom position, the outside light is off; in the upper position, the light is on as it normally would be; and in the middle position, the outside light flashes. Emergency vehicles can spot a flashing light from quite a distance, so they can zero in on the house in distress without having to slow down to read addresses.

These switches are illuminated so they can easily be found in the dark. They retail for about $17. I have installed several of them for elderly, single and ill friends in the past few years, and at least two have been used for an emergency. The emergency personnel complimented the homeowners for making their homes easy to find. One manufacturer of this type of switch is Pass & Seymour/Legrand. I hope this information is helpful. -- R.E. JENSEN, SEDONA, AZ.

DEAR R.E.: Very helpful. Thank you for informing my readers -- and me -- of the existence of this item. Its size may be small, but its value is potentially enormous. I called the manufacturer and was told that this product is carried by several national hardware store chains.