Is Your House Still Under Construction?
March 29, 2014
Staff at Cleburne County 911 are asking Cleburne residents to provide updates that may enable emergency responders to better identify your home in times of emergency.

Once a call is placed to Cleburne County 911, the first thing that is asked by the 911 operator is, “What is the address of your emergency?” This question may seem easy for some, but when you’re an emergency responder searching for an address while someone is in need of CPR, the question seems much more complicated.

 As the caller is on the line, the 911 operator is sending responders to the address that is given. The responders may not be familiar with the area, or the home may be hidden away on a side road that is not easy to find. Both 911 operators and responders depend upon an address to get you the help that you need. 

When responders are unfamiliar with an area, or unable to quickly locate an address, 911 operators have a system they can turn to. This system lists all addresses within the county and gives a description of each residence. Whether the description reads “white house with yellow shutters” or “long driveway with a gate”, these descriptions can significantly assist emergency responders in locating the address of the emergency. Each description should have the address, homeowners name, a current contact number, and a short description of the structure.

 County Administrator Steve Swafford points out: “…back in the mid-90’s when the County’s addressing of all streets, roads, and structures was taking place, the mapping contractor hired by the county captured descriptions for all residences in place at that time.  Since then, numerous homes have been constructed or located about the county. When a new home is planned, the owner contacts 911 to obtain an address that is created as a record in the 911 database and marked with a description of “home under construction” until such time as the homeowner calls back to update 911 personnel of the homes description.”
 
“This issue was brought to my attention by my new 911 management & oversight committee consisting of senior communication officers Candi Ligon, Kurt Turner, and Sheila Amundson. This committee of senior communications officers has worked together diligently to develop innovative and creative solutions towards providing only the best in 911 and central dispatching services for the people and emergency responders of Cleburne County”, says Swafford.

Cleburne County E911 has begun the process of updating the 911 database to get current information on addresses that still read “house under construction.”  Responders depend upon these descriptions of homes to help verify the location of the emergency. 

“The house under construction issue within the county is a critical issue. We, the responders, depend on a house description in most situations, especially since some residences are not clearly marked with an address. Updating the database could aid in saving someone’s life and their property,” said Patrick Nolen, Chief of Turkey Heaven Volunteer Fire Department.

Senior Communications Officer Kurt Turner said, “We currently have over 400 addresses listed as “house under construction” in our system. It is imperative that this system be kept up to date to assist in emergency response from fire, law, and EMS. The public plays a key role in keeping this information updated which ensures responders get to an emergency in a timely manner.”

 How can you help? Make sure that the description of your home is up to date. Without you, the homeowner, making the call to verify your information is correct; it is possible that the system may be outdated. With just one phone call, E911 will update your information and make it much easier for you and your family to be quickly located when there is an emergency.

Cleburne County E911 encourages you to contact their business office at (256) 463-3820, and leave a message with your name and contact information. You will receive a call back from our 911 staff to ensure your information is correct and that it has been up dated in our system.