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Pondering 911 mapping

February 18, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

About three years ago, several Elkins residents and business owners were up in arms when they learned the new 911 mapping system would change all of the addresses in the city.

For some, the home address they'd had for decades held a sentimental value, and they didn't want to give it up. For others, relinquishing their address posed more of a headache than a heartache. It was not only the numbers in front of their homes or businesses that would change - credit cards and drivers' licenses would have to be reissued, business cards and stationary would need to be reprinted and office workers throughout the area would be required to re-enter a lot of information for their clients.

This new addressing system came about when the Randolph County Commission hired Landmark Forestry to conduct 911 mapping for the county. The city wasn't mandated to join in, and it opted out of the process when council members considered all the problems it could create for residents.

It seemed all was said and done - until this week. The county's new 911 Director Jim Wise approached Elkins City Council Thursday asking why the past decision was made and if the current members would like to reconsider.

He also cited some advantages, saying it would alleviate "confusion for new 911 operators and volunteer emergency responders. It would reduce and insulate the city against lawsuits down the road."

Council hasn't made a commitment, but did ask to see the county's maps.

It's likely that at least some council members are pondering which direction to go. There's much to consider with strong pros and cons on both sides.

Having a look at the maps is an excellent place to start. Maybe another conversation with Landmark representatives would be helpful, too. Is there a possibility that some, but not all, addresses would have to be changed? Is there a different way to complete the mapping without changing addresses? Could the city do its own mapping system that could be added to the database for the 911 center?



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