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Failure to properly number houses cited as issue in Salem E-911 report

SALEM — One of the biggest problems emergency personnel have when it comes to using the E-911 emergency call system, is how some residents do not properly number their houses.

Earlier this week, selectmen signed off on an E-911 data capture report from state’s department of public safety.

The town’s assessing department, emergency services departments, and the state have been working together over the past several years to make sure all the addresses and properties in town are properly matched.

“It’s critical when we have an emergency response to have the address and the location of the property match,” said Town Assessor Norm Pelletier.

The project started off with the creation of master street listings that made sure all street names were properly spelled, that streets were differentiated from avenues, and provided street number ranges for each roadway.

After that was completed, Pelletier said field reps from the state went door to door throughout the town to log every property and note any discrepancies from the master street lists.

The final product was a package of over 300 pages and 74 maps that looked to solve any existing discrepancies with street addresses and property locations in the town. Pelletier said this will make it easier for emergency personnel to quickly and accurately respond to 911 calls.

The state also provided a listing in town of non-standard addresses which selectmen signed off on.

Pelletier stated that virtually all the listed non-standard addresses were not issues and were the result of state standards that mark things such as similar sounding street names.

Both fire and police personnel were familiar with the report and were confident that they know where each and every property in the town is, Pelletier said.

“I’ve talked with the police and fire departments, and the two most critical issues are making sure properties are properly numbered and identified and keeping up with the GIS system yearly to make sure it is up to date,” said Pelletier.

There are standards on where street numbers should be located on buildings and how large they should be, Pelletier said. However, not all properties in town meet that standard.

“There are plenty of houses that do not have numbers on them or their mailboxes,” said Selectman James Keller.

Keller requested that town staff look at the issue to see how the town can ensure that all properties have numbers to help emergency personnel locate an address.

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