The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

June 20, 2012

Summers 911 upgrade to help pinpoint addresses

Summers County citizen Jim Tassos addressed the Summers County Commission Monday regarding a 911 call he placed on April 18.

Tassos explained that the address linked to the 911 dispatcher from his phone company showed a three-digit street address on Ellison Ridge Road, but he lives at a five-digit address on the other end of the long road.

A small grease fire at Tassos’ residence was put out with little damage, but the call raised other issues.

Commission President Jerry Berry explained the commission considered “this a very serious matter.”

“We realized that Mr. Tassos is an extremely educated individual. And if he is having challenges getting the 911 system implemented in his household, there are probably many more households in the community who need assistance,” Berry stated.

Berry encourages citizens to verify their physical addresses with their phone providers.

Steve Lipscomb, director of Summers County Emergency Operations Center, explained 911 will be implementing two pieces of software to help better identify caller locations.

An extension to existing software with PTS Solution, the 911 call center will not only have addresses connected with the phone company appear on their screens, they will have maps with aerial photographs and some street level photographs, he said.

This will help better determine where there are inconsistencies between phone service addresses and where residents live.

Dispatchers will also be able to see landmarks to better direct first responders.

The call center will also have Computer Aided Dispatch software, allowing dispatchers to fill in incident report forms quickly and electronically.

Lipscomb noted the electronic forms will also create a history for dispatchers.

For instance, if a person is reported to be unconscious from unknown causes, previous calls might help prepare dispatchers via earlier medical alerts, he explained.

And finally, Summers County 911 is systematically naming non-state maintained roads and providing signage.

All privately owned roads with two or more homes must be named and have signs.

The county has worked on placing signs around the county where roads connect with neighboring counties.

They hope to use the names roads have been called locally or names the property owners would like, barring duplication within zip codes, he said.

Residents who need to get driver’s licenses renewed and who live on an unlabeled /named private road with two or more houses, may want to contact the 911 Addressing Department, 304-466-7162.

Physical addresses are needed for driver’s license renewal.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

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