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Enhanced 911 – Your House Number May Save Your Life!
How many of us have an E911 (Enhanced 9-1-1) house number, and we don’t even know it?
Well, I stand guilty. My house number 3233 actually means that I am 3.233 miles from the nearest major access road to my house. Hum, I’ve lived on this road for 10 years and I really hadn’t stopped to think about what those house numbers really mean. My house number is actually critical to emergency response teams getting to my location as quickly as possible.
The background: I was out for a jog one day and my neighbor/running partner said, “Hey, did you know we live on a 911 road? If you want to go for a 4 mile run, just run down to mailbox number 1200 and turn around.” Really? I was pretty curious about that, so I measured it. Sure enough, the house numbers corresponded to miles. Did all roads in our town have that system? I started looking. Yeap, house numbers seemed to correspond to distances. Hum…..
I thought this would make for an interesting blog post, so I “googled” 9-1-1 roads. After about 30 minutes of looking and finding little information about this, I called my local Town Clerk’s office. The Town Clerk confirmed that the town had adopted the Enhanced 911 street naming and numbering policy to be compliant with the State’s Enhanced 911 policy. Apparently, the town Lister would approve any new road names and all new house numbers to be certain the town stayed in compliance with the State’s mandate.
According to my research, to support E911, an address must have a uniform number, street name and direction. Towns and cities avoid similar or confusing street names and most use a type of grid to define their scheme. Counties may define their own standard distances/measures, but most use National Emergency Number Association guidelines.
The Vermont Office for E911 Compliance. Yes, there is an office for that. I talked with Jeremy McMullen, Vermont’s Database Administrator for the E911 Board, he also maintains the ALI (Automatic Location Identification Database) and the GIS Mapping (Geographical Information System) database. The ALI database is a secured non-public database that houses information including your name, phone number, address and telephone carrier. This data, together with the data in the GIS Mapping database can show an Emergency Responder exactly where your location is on a map.
Think of it like this, when you dial 9-1-1 from your home or cell telephone, the 9-1-1 Operator uses the information from your caller ID that translates location data, address, name, phone carrier and access the ALI and GIS databases to know exactly, on a map, where you are calling from. In the case of a cellular phone, a combination of GPS and Cellular Tower information can be used.
In Vermont, each town can choose the standard increment they’d like to use to determine house numbers, but all increments are based on the standard 5,280 feet in a mile. Most towns in our state use 5,280 foot increments ( 1/1,000 of a mile). Every state supported road must have house numbers that comply with the E911 standard. If your house number is 481, you live 4/10th of a mile from the nearest major intersection and you are on the left side of the road.
To the Left and the Right: Did you know that house numbers also tell you which side of the street a house is located on? Even numbers mean a house is located on the right side of the street….odd means left side (assuming the street is E911 compliant). But, whose “left”? Well, odd/left numbers are determined by the direction of the incrementing house numbers. If you are driving down (or up?) a street and the house numbers are decreasing, the odd numbers will be on your right, even on the your left; if the numbers are increasing, odd will be on the left, even on the right.
House numbers can really tell us a lot...take a look the next time you are driving around town. There is definitely a method behind that numbering madness.
PS - A note on Continuous Addressing
What happens if you drive from one town into another town on the same road? Well, towns are encouraged to have “continuous addressing” which allows for the house numbers to continue in a standard direction across town lines. Interestingly enough, the road we live on (which is about 10 miles from end to end), passes through 3 towns. Two towns have continuous E911 addressing, the 3rd does not. So, when you are driving toward our house, the mailbox numbers go from 100 – 499, then change to 7999 to 100. The section for our town is 8 miles long, and the center of our town is on the “other end” of the road. Visitors to our house suddenly see house numbers go from 451 to 7981. That means they just crossed the town line and the house numbers are now on the Elmore Town E911 map.
There is quite a bit of interesting information about Enhanced 911 road naming, management and database management of owner names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. The state teams that manage this data are working for our safety. Take a look the next time you are driving through a town shopping for your dream home. Is the numbering E911 compliant?
The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy, completeness or appropriateness for any particular purpose.
Stowe Meadows Lodge is a four-season couples resort in Stowe, Vermont offering a variety of luxury lodging accommodations including guest rooms with mountain views, romantic fireplace suites and a private vacation home rental. This New England luxury resort features award-winning gluten-free dining, mountain views from every guest suite, skiing, snowboarding, golf, meeting and wedding facilities all steps from the Catamount Trail.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.