Featured, News

Invalid Address: Troubleshooting Addressing Problems in McDowell County

By Derek Tyson, The Welch News Editor

MCDOWELL COUNTY – Getting package deliveries at home continues to be an ongoing issue for some McDowell County residents, but the McDowell County 911 Center is working to fix the problem. 

In 1999, Congressman Nick Rahall organized a meeting between several 911 directors and the West Virginia congressional delegation to discuss the development of a Statewide Addressing and Mapping project. The project would create city-style addressing and give every structure a valid 911 address. 

In 2001 the Statewide Addressing and Mapping Board (WVSAMB) was established with the passage of legislation introduced by the West Virginia E-911 Council, Senate Bill 460. Since 2008 the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) has been the home of the statewide addressing and mapping project. 

With the new address system, emergency responders can more easily identify the whereabouts of the call and therefore provide faster service in critical times. 

Starting from the beginning of any road, odd numbers are found on the left, even on the right. The address numbers themselves are determined by distance, such as 710, meaning 7/10ths of a mile from the beginning of the road. 

Despite helping emergency responders locate those in need, other services such as home delivery and wi-fi calling have been troubled by the changes. 

“Anyone having issues with mail delivery or wi-fi calling may still need to register their address at their local Post Office,” said McDowell County 911 Center Executive Director Teresa VanDyke. 

As part of a two-step verification process, citizens receive a letter with their confirmed address from the 911 Center. This letter must then be taken to their local Post Office to finish the registration process. 

Correspondence from the State shows that the McDowell County 911 Center has achieved 97% completion of the project, with only the City of Welch opting out of the address change. Anyone outside of Welch will be required to register the address with the Postal Service to resume mail delivery at home. 

The 911 Center has tried many initiatives to reach local residents about the addressing changes, from phoning residents, mailing flyers and even going door-to-door, but they have yet to reach everyone.

“Some residents told me they received the letter, but lost it or never registered with the Post Office,” said VanDyke. “Some may have never received it.”

Anyone that never received their letter or misplaced a former one are encouraged to reach out to the 911 Center. For residents that can’t make the trip to Welch, the 911 Center can also mail or fax the information as well. 

“We’re trying to get everyone on the same page, so if they have a problem with their addressing, call us and Edward Davis will see what may be right or wrong with it,” said VanDyke. 

Residents are also encouraged to call the 911 Center with any problems involving road signage as well. For more information, please call Edward Davis, Addressing Coordinator at (304) 436-5074 or fax to (304) 436-4108.