OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – In emergency situations, it is crucial to have a valid address that works on GPS systems like Google Maps. However, this has been a problem in Fayette County which is why the 911 Center is working on verifying addresses throughout the area.
The City of Oak Hill is helping with this mission, so for the next few weeks, Oak Hill’s Digital Mapping Coordinator Tyler Bragg and volunteer Butch Christian will be driving by to see house numbers and verify streets.
“What this does for the citizens of Oak Hill and Fayette County is that when you Google an address that it comes up accurately,” Oak Hill City Manager Bill Hannabass said. “It does not come up accurately right now and this is a big improvement, everything from getting your Domino’s pizza delivered to having an emergency vehicle show up.”
So how does it work? Bragg keeps his laptop up with a map from the 911 Center, and they drive slowly comparing what the 911 Center has to what’s physically in front of them in terms of streets, house numbers and even if the structure is still physically there.
Bragg will then make the necessary edits for the database that will then go back to the 911 Center.
“That’s where all this data is housed,” Bragg said. “From there, they have reporting requirements to the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security, and then it gets distributed from there.”
The biggest issue they have come across so far is lack of house numbers, or lack of visible ones. What they recommend is big, bright, reflective and visible numbers.
“We’re finding that almost 20% of structures in Oak Hill do not have house numbers on them, and that is a very dangerous situation,” Hannabass said.
They’ve completed roughly 50% of structures so far in Oak Hill, so the work continues as this process is all about collecting information and then from there, the city and county can begin working through solutions.
If you do not have a visible house number, the city recommends purchasing big numbers from the nearest hardware store