The central proposition in the series is: "If we can't find you, we can't help you!"
In the first article, we posed a scenario where rescue personnel were unable to locate an address where an individual was suffering a heart attack. The article focused on the importance of the proper posting of the E911 address to locating a residence in the event of an emergency.
In the second article, we focused on the history of how the E911 system evolved and on the provisions of the ordinance. In this article we spelled out the proper method of displaying an E911 address in almost any situation.
In the third article, we emphasized how the addressing system is operated and how it compares to other counties.
Why did we choose to run this series of articles?
The answer is simple. This program is critically important to our residents. Yet few people seriously consider the importance of compliance until they're faced with a situation such as the one described in the first article. Unfortunately, that could well be too late.
As noted in the second article in the series, a quick check of the area around Elizabethtown found at least half the homes out of compliance with the ordinance. Some of those residences had E911 addresses posted, but they were posted in locations where emergency personnel could not possibly find them on a dark rainy night. Or they were posted on mailboxes that were not located directly in front of the residence, or were grouped with a number of other mailboxes. Often the mailbox was located across the road from the residence.
It is important to post E911 addresses on mailboxes to comply with postal regulations. However, this often does not help in determining to which residence the address belongs and in many cases does not bring the owner of the residence or business in compliance with the E911 ordinance.
Over and above its value to emergency services, the proper posting of the E911 address is essential to so many other activities. Virtually every service agency-from the telephone company to Social Services-depends on the E911 address to locate clients.
That's why the E911 addressing system was developed in the first place: to make it easier to locate businesses and residences. And the ordinance was developed to spell out the acceptable methods of displaying the address.
Unfortunately, the ordinance as it presently reads has little teeth in it. Perhaps if it did we would have a much larger number of our residents in compliance.
Some residents, we're sure, are not in compliance because they simply do not understand how to properly display their E911 address. Others, however, have simply chosen to ignore it. That, we believe, is a shame. It speaks loudly to our willingness to prioritize out those things for which see little value.
But this system was developed with a very specific purpose-and that purpose, more than any other, was to help ensure the health and safety of our residents.
Don't become the individual who dies in an emergency because emergency personnel can't find you. We urge you to post your E911 address properly.