Improving emergency response

By: Daniel Gotera Email
By: Daniel Gotera Email

VAN ALSTYNE, TX -- Responding to an emergency call is already difficult enough for crews across the area. Imagine driving to the scene and going right past it because the numbering system is off.

The city of Van Alstyne is in the process of revamping their entire 911 emergency grid to avoid situations just like that.

City officials say the restructuring has been a long time coming. 516 Jefferson St. in Van Alstyne is where you'll find the brown family...

Or can you?

"I know it probably difficult when you’re doing the 911 addresses," says Tina Potter who lives at 516 Jefferson Street.

Right across the street, you'll find 703 Jefferson. Next door is 612 Jefferson. Potter says this random numbering hit close to home for her not too long ago.

"We had a problem several months ago with my son and we had to call 911 and police and ambulance had a problem finding the house," she says.

Her infant son is fine and everything worked out in the end. City officials don't want to see this happening ever again.

"We should never have another problem with 911 all of it will be coordinated," says city manager Bill Herrington.

Herrington says as Van Alstyne has grown over the years, some houses have not been incorporated into the streets numbering system. It leaves homes with totally different number right next to one another.

"We feel like this will be a security to the citizen rather than a concern," Herrington says.

For the past couple of months, Herrington along with police chief Robert Spindle have been working with Grayson county to design a new 911 grid. The goal is for each home or business to be found easily...

"It has to be done and that’s pretty much the major and the concept that we're going to use here in Van Alstyne."

As part of the transformation, some residents will have to change their addresses all together. 18 street names will be replaced so they don’t match others across the county. It’s a task which Herrington says shouldn't be that difficult.

"It’s always historical things and those street names should be changed to something that reflects a piece of history."

Officials say most residents get their mail at the post office and won't have to deal with changing their address for Bills and other items.

For Potter, news that the city is working to fix the problem is music to her ears.

"It’s going to be wonderful to have the house numbers in order and not having problems when you order things or having 911 being able to find the house numbers," she says.

City officials say they hope to get the new 911 system up and running by the end of this year.


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