A physical address is the actual number and street name assigned to where you live, including the municipality. For example, "67 Lehigh Street, Fairview Twp" is a physical address. It is stating the number, the street name and the municipality of where the person is located. When calling 9-1-1, you should always use the physical address for the location you are calling from.
A mailing address is the number and street name assigned where you live, but includes the post office from where you receive your mail from and a zip code (which may include a Post Office Box). For example, 67 Lehigh Street, Mountain Top, PA 18707 is a mailing address. When calling 9-1-1, you should not refer to "Mountain Top, PA" as where you are located, because the term "Mountain Top" is the name used by the post office, and does not narrow down which Police, Fire or EMS department responds. For reference, there are 5 different police departments that make up the "Mountain Top" area, along with 5 Fire departments. This is why it is imperative to utilize your physical address when calling 9-1-1.
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Primarily, to assist emergency services in responding to emergency calls. An E-911 address helps emergency responders to locate residents. A faster response time can make a significant difference in survival and degree of recovery. However, E-911 location addresses are also often required for phone service, building permits, driver license renewals, land titles, loans, mail delivery, utility services, insurance companies and for other purposes requiring a site location.
An E-911 address is a site specific, locatable address. An E-911 address is assigned using a mileage measurement, accurate to 1/100th of a mile, to driveway on a named road. A 911 National Emergency Number Association (NENA) standardized measuring system standard is used. Measurements start at the south or west end of a through road. Driveways on the left side of the road are given even numbers and driveways on the right side of the road are given odd numbers, when possible.
People placing 911 emergency calls often have difficulty providing their addresses. Children, visitors, hearing or speech impaired callers, or callers in a life threatening situation, may not be able to provide address information to dispatchers. E-911 automatically gives the dispatchers the address, allowing them to send the appropriate fire, medical personnel, or law enforcement, even if the caller is unable to communicate.
Typically, the reason for a municipal change to your address means there is some type of public safety issue with the street you live on. The municipalities (a City, Boro or Township) are ultimately responsible for the naming and numbering of streets within their jurisdiction. The 9-1-1 center's role is to identify what is deemed a public safety issue and report it to the municipalities for correction. Ultimately, the final decision lies with the municipalities for all changes regarding naming and numbering street addresses.
Some issues that can be observed are:
Many addresses have been around for decades and in the past, were given out by the post office and other municipal officials. For delivery of mail, this did not pose such a problem because local mail carriers knew their mail routes. The 9-1-1 Data Department assists municipalities with identifying and correcting possible public safety issues within Luzerne County.