Brainerd postal service customers, excluding residents of Brainerd and Baxter, will receive their new 911 addresses in the next few days.
The addressing system is the driving force behind the Enhanced 911 system. In 1997, the Crow Wing County Board established an addressing system for E-911 signs to help emergency vehicles find locations more quickly. The ordinance was adopted in August.
All cities in the county -- except Brainerd, Baxter, Crosby and Ironton -- elected to address or readdress based on the county grid system. The goal is to provide a system that flows throughout the county and will eliminate confusion with conflicting systems at city boundaries.
"Although it may seem like the county has been working on this project for an extended period of time, there were major hurdles to overcome," said Crow Wing County Sheriff Dick Ross. "In order to make the system work for emergency responders, it was necessary to readdress the entire county."
Ross also said there are hundreds of county roads and it was becoming difficult to come up with unusual road names.
The street signs and house number signs have been ordered and the county highway department will install the signs. Residents should start seeing these signs go up throughout the county once the shipments arrive. Where possible, street signs will be attached to the top of stop signs to help reduce costs and to speed up the installation time.
Once the notification process is completed, the new address data will be turned over to area telephone companies for their conversion process for E-911. The Crosslake and Emily exchanges, including C-I Communications in Crosby, are currently online with E-911. TDS Telecom in the Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point and Ideal exchanges is working diligently on conversion and plans to bring E-911 up in those areas in the near future.
Telephone companies and postal districts cross boundaries in the Brainerd postal area, so it was not possible for some telephone exchanges to be brought onto the system sooner. However, once the notification process is completed this problem will no longer exist.
Each road within the county was designated either an east-west or north-south road. Even house numbers were assigned to driveways that intersect on the north and east side of a named road and odd house numbers were assigned to driveways that intersect on the south and west side of a named road.
"Homeowners should retain the copy of their 911 address notification with their legal papers in the event it may be needed for further land transactions," said Don Sigety, county surveyor. "If a homeowner needs a copy, it may be obtained through the sheriff's department."
The mapping system is in place and will be updated once the address notifications go out. Authorities ask for residents to keep the address near the telephone.
"Until the actual telephone conversions are completed and a final simulation is done, there may be occasions when a dispatcher will need to obtain additional information from the call," said Pat Eyestone, communications supervisor. "For all locatable addresses on the mapping system, the emergency responder jurisdictions will be indicated allowing dispatchers to immediately know which emergency service to send. We also will have the ability to fax a map of the location to responding fire departments or ambulance service at the time of the call."
Cellular calls with the county currently go directly to the State Patrol. Cellular phones do not have E-911 capability and complete directions will be needed if a valid 911 address is not available at the location. It is a future goal to selectively route these calls to either the county or the State Patrol based on the tower location and to receive the location of the caller on the mapping system based on latitude and longitude. The hardware and software is in place in the Crow Wing County Dispatch Center to provide for this technology when it becomes available.
In order to provide selective routing where a majority of the telephone exchanges crossed county borders, it was necessary to change the 911 network provider to Independent Emergency Services. This will enable emergency calls from the county that currently go into Cass or Aitkin counties' answer points to come directly into Crow Wing County's dispatch center and vice versa.
Changing the 911 tandem office from Fargo, N.D., to Brainerd has drastically reduced the possibility of a major 911 outage. Through cooperative efforts of Independent Emergency Services and many of the area telephone exchanges, this was accomplished at no additional cost to county taxpayers.
The county's dispatch center is up to date with the newest 911 technology and computer software and recently became the first 911 center in Minnesota to introduce the Integrated Services Digital Network into the 911 system. This technology has proven to reduce the call set up time in half, making it possible to save valuable seconds in responding to emergency situations.
The postal service will forward mail to residents' old addresses for one year, but it is important for people to use their new addresses as soon as possible.
If anyone has any questions on the new assigned address, call the county surveyor's office at 824-1116 or Eyestone at 829-4749.
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