9-1-1 mailbox signage

A 9-1-1 sign attached to your mailbox can help first responders find you and render the emergency services that you need. The signs are reflective and show up clearly both in daytime (left) and at night (right). Hancock residents who do not have a sign may contact Jamie Stanifer, 9-1-1 director, at 733-8453 to find out how to get one.

Fire Chief

TREADWAY — In an emergency situation, how are the first responders ... Fire, Police, EMS, Rescue Squad, etc., going to find you?

In Hancock County we have what is called Enhanced 9-1-1 and a Computer Aided Dispatch system. What this means is that when you call 9-1-1, your name and address comes up on the computer screen at the 9-1-1 dispatch office.

This does not work if you are calling from a cell phone. To get an accurate location of a cell phone caller, the system needs to use three cell towers to get your exact location by using what is called triangulation. In Hancock County we only have two cell towers, so when you call 9-1-1 from your cell phone it will usually give your location at one of the two towers (Newman’s Ridge or Hwy. 33). This is also the case if you have a Verizon home phone box. This is why the first thing the dispatcher needs to know when you call 9-1-1 is the address of the emergency. Remember, if we don’t know where the emergency is, we can’t get there! Your name is also important, but it is not enough to dispatch first responders to you. You cannot expect the dispatchers and first responders to know where everyone in the county lives.

Now that you have called 9-1-1 because you have an emergency, what information do you need to give to the dispatcher? The address of the emergency, if the emergency is not at an address, the closest cross street or major landmark. What type of emergency do you have? The more information you can give the dispatcher, the quicker they can get the appropriate agencies coming to you.

The 9-1-1 dispatcher has received all of the information they need to dispatch the first responders and now they are coming to take care of your emergency. They turn on to your street and cannot find your house because there is no number on the mail box/driveway or there are multiple mailboxes on the same post and they have no idea which address goes to which house. Time is a critical factor in most emergency situations and the more delay in getting to scene can mean the difference between life and death.

How can you make sure that the first responders won’t have trouble finding you in your time of need? Hancock County received a grant for 9-1-1 address markers and they are available for FREE from the Hancock County 9-1-1 director. As you can see in the accompanying pictures, these address markers make it much easier to find your house, both during the day and at night. If you don’t have a 9-1-1 address marker, you need to get one. Please contact Jamie Stanifer, 9-1-1 director, at 733-8453 to find out how to get one.

I hope that you won’t need to call 9-1-1 for assistance, but in my 44 years as a first responder, I have never had someone say that they planned on having a medical emergency, house fire, auto accident, or the need for law enforcement. Please help your first responders be more able to help you in your time of need by having your address posted on your mail box or at the entrance to your driveway.

Thank you for helping your first responders be better able to assist you in your time of need.