County urges residents to post 911 addresses

From press and staff reports


City and county officials of Winston County are still trying to get the word out in regards to E-911 addresses being posted properly at their homes.

With little reaction to previous announcements and insistence by local officials for residents to post their 911 addresses in accordance with county and state law, those officials are looking to again stress the importance of the addresses being visible. It only takes a few minutes and costs a few dollars, but it could save your life or the life of someone you love.

There are still a number of people in the county that do not have their E-911 addresses posted properly, but the local Post offices, E911 officials, city and county officials encourage every resident to take the proper steps for 911 address posting – for every citizen’s own good.

Louisville Postmaster Betty Roach expressed her concern regarding the importance of the addresses. “Having your address visible makes our job easier, it enhances more accurate delivery of not just mail, but any other situation in which finding the correct address is important,” Roach said. “Whether it’s the fire department, the paramedics, or the pizza delivery, when the situation is urgent, you don’t want someone having to spend critical time to guess where you are.”

In 1993, Winston County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance that requires every house, building, mobile home, or other structures to affix the number assigned by E911 to the structures and that ALL mail boxes shall be marked with the house number.

In 2008, the Winston County Board of Supervisors amended the Ordinance to include a fine of $10 a day if persons refused to comply with the ordinance within 30 days after notification.

The County and city E-911 ordinance does require citizens to post their 911 addresses in accordance with county and state law.

Having these numbers highly visible, and in front of your home, not down the street where your mailbox is located, or hidden behind a bush, could be a lifesaver. Winston County EMA Director Buddy King agreed with that sentiment. “If we cannot find you, then we cannot give the services that people have learned to respect and expect,” King said. “Doing something as simple as displaying your 911 assigned address can assure you that emergency services will find you in the shortest amount of time possible, and get you the help you may need.”

Winston County Sheriff Jason Pugh wanted residents to know that through their cooperation, getting every address posted properly in Winston County can become a reality. “Placing the 911 address numbers is crucial for dispatching an officer quickly and efficiently to a home,” said Pugh. “The Sheriff’s Department through TRIAD has helped residents get numbers to place on their homes and will be glad to continue to help citizens get the numbers to place on their homes.”

Not many people know how many aspects of the city and county resources depend on a properly posted address affects. Besides getting mail delivered, emergency and electrical service can be significantly hindered from doing their required jobs.

LifeCare EMS paramedics Kyle McCormick, John Harrison, and EMT Pam Daniels explained how these addresses affect them in a time of crisis. “Without these addresses posted, we sometimes have to waste critical time just to locate the person in need,” Daniels said. “When we finally locate the address, the residents are sometimes upset because of the time wasted. And this sometimes can cause a hindrance in regards to responding to a patient.”

Another issue that residents are not aware of is that most of the paramedics and EMT’s are not from around the Winston County area, and are not familiar with the surroundings or faces. “We are sometimes in route on a call and we cannot locate an address, we have to call the person back who made the call to get directions,” McCormick said. “And while explaining the address, they might say ‘I am located by a particular person’s house or landmark. Unfortunately, since most of us are not from here, we have no idea who or what they may be talking about.”

Not only are residential areas a cause for concern regarding addresses, a number of local businesses do not have their addresses post properly as well. “We have had issues of not being able to find some businesses in town,” Harrison said. “A lot of businesses do not post them because they think since they are established in the town, that everyone should know where they are located.”

Besides emergency services, addresses are important to other services such as electrical. EMEPA Communication Manager Julie Boles explained how addresses affect their service.

“EMEPA requires E911 address verification prior to setting up any new accounts,” Boles said. “We require this because it’s vital that we have accurate, updated addresses in order to properly dispatch our crews to setup an account and to quickly restore power during an outage. We are also often called to disconnect power during emergency situations, such as a house fire, before emergency personnel can safely enter a home.”

In the late 1980s, the Postal Service was asked to cooperate with the various government agencies involved in implementing a 9-1-1 emergency response system.

Many communities across the nation have converted to a grid street address system to aid local police, fire, and rescue authorities. To implement 9-1-1 emergency phone numbers and addresses, all residences are assigned a numbered street address to enable emergency personnel to readily locate anyone who calls for assistance or is in distress. Local city zoning and planning offices establish new city-style addresses which conform to Postal Service addressing standards.

Louisville/Winston County E911 Coordinator Vera McCarty explained the upgrades of their system, and how this will help in the battle to get every resident to post their address. “Together with the County and City we have upgraded our 911 equipment to include the CAD (computer aided dispatch),” McCarty said. “This automates our call taking process and allows us to respond to your calls faster and keep more accurate records. Golden Triangle Planning and Development District is in the process of mapping all of Winston County, this will give us the latitude/longitude and allow us at E911 to pin point on a map where this call is originating from.”

Even with this new technology, residents still need to be aware that knowing your address is still just as important as posting it. “With the mapping that Golden Triangle is doing, they may find some addresses that are incorrect at which time the address will be changed,” McCarty said. “If you are not sure what your 911 address is, feel free to call our office at 662-773-3511. We will assist you any way we can.”

McCarty also reiterated the sentiments of the other organizations about the importance of addresses being posted. “It is vital that your E-911 numbers be posted where it can be seen from the road,” McCarty said. “In the event you need Fire, Police, Sheriff Dept. or an Ambulance, the emergency personnel need to be able to see your address quickly in order to get you the help you need. Even if you have a post office box you are still required by law to post your number near the road in plain view.”

Over the next few months your mail carriers will be notifying customers that are not incompliance with the above requirements to PLEASE place your number on your mail box.

To assist the USPS and the E911 Emergency Agencies and to avoid potential fines make sure your address is located on your mail box.