Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 6, 2013

Last of Mercer’s rural route locations given new addresses

Bluefield Daily Telegraph


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

 — A project aimed at assigning new addresses to Mercer County’s residents and businesses, and helping first responders pinpoint their locations more quickly, has been completed.

The work on changing all rural route addresses in the county has been completed, Mercer County 911 Director Robert Hoge said. The Rock area was the last one in the county to get new addresses.

“We originally started on it in ‘95,” Hoge recalled. “Then the state got a grant to do the addressing and was doing it on a statewide basis, but the contractor did not live up to obligations, so it was passed back to the counties and we picked it up from there.”

The Mercer County 911 first used zip codes, revising addresses in each zip code’s area, then moved on to rural routes. Funding for the project came from 911 fees, Hoge said.

Revising addresses helps the 911 center get first responders to their destinations more quickly when it receives an emergency call, he said.

“It will help us to pinpoint a location more accurately,” Hoge said. “In addition to the addressing, all the address points and road names are populated on a mapping program that’s part of our computer-aided dispatch software.”

The last county residents were notified about their address changes in November 2012. A letter sent by the U.S. Postal Service tells customers not to use a Postal Change of Service Card.

Hoge said that mail such as utility bills and credit card bills have forms on them that customers can use to alert companies about an address change.

The postal service suggested that customers think of updates that are often overlooked: the state Department of Motor vehicles; voter registration; car and boat registration; bank accounts; insurance policies; and Christmas card/personal address lists.

New house numbers should be shown on rural mailboxes, postal officials said in a letter to county residents. It should be visible to mail carriers as they approach the box. If a mail carrier approaches the box from a different direction than emergency personnel, the number should be on both sides of the box.

Hoge said the postal service and local post office personnel helped with the address project.

“We worked in conjunction with the address management service out of Charleston with the postal service, and we had cooperation and assistance from all of the post offices and rural route carriers throughout the county,” he said.

People with questions about their new physical address in Mercer County should contact the Mercer County Communications Center at 304-425-4911.