GIS – 911 Address Frequently Asked Questions

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911 Addressing Changes
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q:  Will my address change?
A:  Possibly. About 10% of the current addresses will change.  Your address will change if it does not comply with the County addressing scheme or if you are currently using a rural route and box number.
*link: list of addresses that will be changed*

Q: What is the County addressing scheme?
A: For a description of the County addressing scheme refer to the link below.
*link: County Ordinance*

Q:  Why does my address have to change?
A:  The County is establishing a unique address for each structure based on a consistent County wide addressing scheme. This is done to improve the emergency response time and save lives. Existing addresses that do not comply with the County wide scheme will need to be changed.
*link: va 911.org*

Q:  What if I receive my mail through a Post Office Box?
A:  If you currently receive your mail through a P.O. Box, you can continue to do so.  The structure’s 911 address will be used to locate the structure in case of an emergency.  You will need to notify the Post Office of your new 911 address.

Q:  I’ve lived here for 30 years and everybody knows me and where I live.  Why do I need to change my address?
A:  Logical consistent addressing saves lives. If someone new is hired as an emergency personnel worker they may not know you.  Emergency responders from adjacent localities and the state do not have the local knowledge.

Q:  When will my address change?
A:  Addressing changes are scheduled to be complete by September 2007. The County will notify residents when to begin using their new addresses after that time. Addressing changes will go to the Post Office in August 2007.  When the Post Office has converted the addresses the Post Office will notify you of your new address and then you will be notified by the County.

Q: What will my address be?
A: Your new 9-1-1 address will consist of a house number and street name.  You will be notified of your new address.  To check if your address will change, visit www.wisecounty.org/911.

Q: Who should I notify about my address change?
A: You will need to notify the Power Company, Phone Company, School System, Place of Employment, Insurance Company, DMV, Cell Phone Company, Cable Company, Newspapers, Bank, Magazines, Voter Registration, Commissioner of Revenue, and Schools attended by your child/children.
*link: document of address notification*

Q:  Do I need to display my address?
A:  Yes, part of the County ordinance states that every structure must have their address properly displayed.  The County ordinance is available for review and enforceable by fine.  
*link: County Ordinance 2.2.b*

Q:  Is the County going to pay for me to change my address on all of my personal items?
A:  Unfortunately, the County cannot pay for that.  The County will notify you when to begin using your new address and it is recommended that you wait until that time before you change anything.  

Q:  I told the County the name I wanted for my road.  Why did they give it a different name?
A:  The County tries to incorporate citizens’ suggestions with regards to road names, yet this is sometimes not possible due to road naming standards such as not using punctuation or personal names. Also, the county is trying to eliminate road names that are too much alike.  Therefore, if your requested road name is similar to another one that has already been established, a different road name must be used.
*link: County Ordinance 3.4*

Q: Can I change my road name?
A: No. After the Board of Supervisors approves a road name it may not be changed.
*link: County Ordinance 1.12*

Q: Do I need to have a new deed recorded for my home with the new address?
A: No. The deed to your home is based on the actual property boundaries, not your 911 address.  You will need to contact Doug Mullins, Commissioner of Revenue to give them your correct 911 mailing address.

Q: When can I start using my new address?
A: You may start using your new address when you receive notification letter from the county.

Q: The address that the County has given me and the address that the Post Office gave me is different. Which should I use?
A: Notify the GIS/ Addressing Department immediately at 276-328-7110, if the addresses are different.

Q: How will I know I have a new address?
A: The County will notify you of your new address
*link: new addresses*

Q: Why does a road have to have a name?
A: A road name identifies your general location in the county.  Your house number identifies your specific location on that road.  Many times a caller is unable to give clear directions to their home or is unable to remember their road number during an emergency if they are panicked. The county’s 911 dispatch system automatically locates 911 calls based on the 911 address attached to the phone number.

Q: What is E9-1-1?
A: 9-1-1 is a lifesaving emergency notification network in which the caller is identified by ANI (automatic number identifier) and ALI (automatic location identifier).  This information is automatically displayed on the dispatcher’s computer screen at the time the emergency call is answered at the dispatch center.  The caller is required to only dial 3 numbers, 9-1-1, to be connected to the PSAP (public safety answering point).  9-1-1 is a nationally known emergency notification number.

Q: What does the E in E9-1-1 stand for?
A: The E stands for enhanced, which means the dispatcher gets address information as well as phone number information when you dial 9-1-1. Necessary information can be available to a dispatcher without verification from the caller, in the case of somehow losing the phone connection or if the caller is too upset to give clear information.

Q: Why do we need E9-1-1 here?
A: Senate bill 148 passed the Virginia general assembly during its 2000 session.  The law mandates that every county, city and town in Virginia shall be operating an E9-1-1 system by July 1, 2003. Currently a dispatcher will receive an emergency call and may be on the line with the caller from 1-5 minutes attempting to determine the caller’s location.  Many times the directions are inaccurate, thus increasing the response time of law enforcement, fire or rescue personnel.  9-1-1 is a lifesaving emergency notification network in which the caller is identified by ANI (automatic number identifier) and ALI (automatic location identifier).  The caller is required to only dial three numbers, 9-1-1, to be connected to the PSAP (public safety answering point).  9-1-1 is a nationally known emergency notification number.  Many times travelers or visitors may attempt to report an emergency without knowledge of the area.  Without 9-1-1, valuable time would be lost trying to determine the emergency number and location.

Q: How do I get an E-9-1-1 street address?
A: The first step to getting an E-9-1-1 street address is to obtain a Building Permit from the Wise County Building and Zoning Department.  This permit is required to place a manufactured housing unit (mobile home) or construct a site-built structure.  After you have your first inspection (or footer/ electrical inspection if it is a manufactured home) you then contact the GIS Department and request an E-9-1-1 street address.

Q: What qualifies naming a road?
A: Any right-of-way with three or more residential or business structures is assigned an E-9-1-1 street name, regardless of whether it is a private or public street or road.
*link: County Ordinance*

Q: What if I do not have a traditional land line phone and I only use a cell phone?
A: New law requires all new cell phones to have GPS receivers in them. When you dial 911 from your cell phone, dispatchers are able to trace the call and locate your phone.

For further questions please visit the GIS Department at the Wise County Courthouse or call 276-328-7110.

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