By Lindsay Reed
Over the next few months, Barry County E-911 will be working with several local cities to update its county-wide maps.
"When 911 comes in, they hire a mapping company or choose to do their own addressing standards for the county," said Mike Phillips, E-911 director. "This does not include city limits. The cities are responsible for their own addresses, so most of them choose to use what is already in place."
City council members in most of the southern Barry County cities felt there was no need to change their current addressing systems, said Phillips.
When county-wide mapping and addressing was being completed, the Seligman City Council asked Barry County E-911 to create new addresses within the city limits of Seligman. This was completed during the original addressing process.
E-911 also worked with the City of Butterfield when the community lost its zip code.
"Officials were concerned that an E-911 dispatcher might have trouble with the Butterfield addresses that were similar to Cassville addresses," said Phillips. "They elected to place a 10 in front of all of their house numbers so that dispatchers and emergency responders can tell quickly if the address is in Butterfield or Cassville."
The City of Butterfield contracted with a company to conduct the readdressing project.
"We work closely with all of the cities so that when someone new comes into the city or a change is made, we update our system with that information," said Phillips.
Barry County E-911 also updates county records. For instance, E-911 assisted with the Barry County Assessor Office's GIS project.
"A common misconception is that if a person lives in a city where the addressing system is different, they are not a part of the 911 system," said Phillips. "They are part of the system; they just have a different type of address."
When the Barry County E-911 addressing project was completed, the maps that were created indicated only the street locations with the cities located in the county. Phillips is preparing to work with Cassville and Purdy to pinpoint house numbers on E-911 maps.
"Those are the only two counties that have come forward so far, but we would be willing to work with any of the cities," said Phillips.
By adding the house number information to Barry County E-911 maps, the emergency service system could further increase emergency response times.
Several tools have already been put into place to help emergency responders locate residences quickly. Barry County E-911 offers paper maps and county wall maps, which are updated every two years.
"We also offer digital maps free to all of the departments," said Phillips. "If they bring their laptop in, we can upload the map and the updates for them."
Barry County E-911 provides mapping information for around a dozen fire departments, St. John's Hospital-Cassville, Barry-Lawrence Ambulance District, Cox South Barry County Ambulance District and the Barry County Sheriff's Department.
"We purchased a special license, which allows us to do this for free for all of the departments," said Phillips.
Mapping and addressing information is also provided to the Missouri Water Patrol to assist with lake emergencies. All of the docks on the lake have been addressed, and dock owners are required to post addresses.
"This helps quite a bit when you have a lot of traffic on the lake," said Phillips.
Some of the latest mapping updates added caves and trails to county-wide E-911 maps.
For more information on Barry County E-911 or the county-wide mapping system, call Phillips or Ann Hinegan, office manager, at 846-4911.