WILLIAMSON – Many Mingo County residents recently received notification of address changes due to incompatibility issues with the 911 mapping system.
According to the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management or DHSEM, the goal is to link each telephone to a “city type” address that clearly identifies where a telephone is physically located to provide an exact location for 911 and postal services such as UPS Inc., and FedEx.
The DHSEM defines a “city type” address as a “unique structure using a building number and street name. The addresses will appear in a consistent numeric sequence.”
Efforts to map and address the state according to 911 and United States Postal requirements began in 1999 under the leadership of Congressman Nick Joe Rahall. In 2008, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, overtook the effort. Efforts were recently resumed in Mingo County, causing many residents the headache of dealing with yet another change in address.
County commissioner Greg “Hootie” Smith said that efforts to complete the project have been unsuccessful in various attempts made by both state and local governments due to the mountainous geography of rural Mingo County. “Both individual and state attempts have been unsuccessful,” Smith said.
Street names and addresses have to be changed due to system incompatibility. One example provided by Smith is that some streets have the same name.
To complete the project, Smith said that field crews and arial maps are being used.
Currently, this is a state wide project. Smith said, “The whole state has to be remapped.”
In January, the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, released a map showing county progress of the postal conversion throughout West Virginia. Mingo County was listed as one percent complete. Local officals state that this information is outdated and a large part of the project has been completed.
Smith said the project has been, “very time consuming” and is unsure as to when the project is expected to be completed.
At time of release, county commissioners, Diann Hannah and John Hubbard were unavailable for comment. Additional information on 911 mapping and addressing can be found at www.dhsem.wv.gov.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279.)