Earlier this year, the issue of 911 mapping and addressing was visited again in a joint meeting of the Elkins City Council and the Randolph County Commission. At the meeting, it was pointed out to the city that new addresses would be issued in ascending order for the street address, so that the addresses would conform to the software program that was recently put in place at the 911 center.
The questions that came up were pointing out that police and fire would have a harder time finding these new addresses and response to calls would take longer. If nothing else is changing except the physical number on the home or business, then my question is what's the problem? Police and firefighters have spoken at the joint meeting and stated they know just about where everything is within the city limits and that there are very few places that they could not find. So why is changing the business or home street address going to slow them down when they are responding to a call?
The police and fire department, I thought, have computers that are linked to this new mapping system and could pinpoint where the call came from and the best way to get to the call. If they have these computers in their squad cars and fire trucks, I don't see any problem with the city moving forward to the new 911 system of addressing and street locations. This is just another reason we are still in what most people call the Stone Age. We want all of the conveniences of a big city, but when it comes to putting them in place the saying "Not in My Back Yard" comes to mind.
Other complaints that were posed at the joint meeting were people are going to have to change their mailing address with all of their bills they get every month. I feel that is a small inconvenience for knowing that if the city implements the 911 system, we are truly moving in the right direction to show people who are thinking of moving to our area that we have systems in place that they are used to. I know it doesn't seem like much, but if you look at the big picture for Randolph County and the City of Elkins, this is just one more selling point that can be used to encourage growth, not only within the city, but in the county as well.
Not accepting the change and moving forward is only going to prolong the inevitable. The state will mandate that all the counties in West Virginia are complying with the 911 calling system for emergency response. I have to side with Mike Taylor when he stated that we should do this now and not wait for the state to mandate it. This way any problems that might arise with the new system can be worked out and Randolph County would be further ahead with the program when the mandate finally does come. Anything new will take some training and use of the new system and programs that come along with this change. It is something good and should not be placed on the back burner and not be talked about again.