By Kirk Kramer
Phoenix Staff Writer
When Berdise Dyer found out that 911 addresses will be in use around the county by the end of the year, she was elated.
“Great,” Dyer said with a mixture of relief and enthusiasm.
For nearly 60 years, Dyer has lived on a farm near Webbers Falls.
Like all residents of the county’s rural districts, Dyer’s mailing address has always been a rural route and a box number.
By the end of the year, such addresses will be a thing of the past in Muskogee County.
Darryl Maggard is 911 coordinator for the Muskogee City-County 911 Trust Authority. He said that joint letters from his office and the U.S. Postal Service will begin arriving in the mail boxes of rural Haskell residents next week.
“All rural residents will receive a letter by the end of the year,” Maggard said.
The letters will inform residents of their new street-style 911 addresses.
Maggard said residents will have a year to notify their correspondents of the new addresses. After a year the use of the 911 addresses will become mandatory.
The change will come none to soon for Dyer. About five years ago she and her husband woke up in the middle of the night to find a dead body on their place.
“It was scary at 2 a.m.,” Dyer said. “Somebody was out there in the corner of the yard dead. A lady got shot. She fell in my yard.”
“I feel the law would have showed up quicker with a 911 address. We called a guy with the D.A. we know who lives several miles away. We needed somebody down here.”
Maggard said the new addresses will speed the arrival of emergency services when residents need fire, police or ambulance service.
When callers call 911 from a land line telephone, the dispatcher’s computer will automatically display a mapped location showing where the phone call is coming from. The computer also will show the location of the nearest cross street. Using this information, the dispatcher can give directions to the emergency crews.
“It will save lots of time,” Maggard said. “Instead of spending time getting directions to the location, the dispatcher can dispatch the unit, then provide immediate aid to the caller, for example CPR instructions or how to stop bleeding.”
Maggard said Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service has long been certified in emergency medical dispatch techniques.
With the old route and box numbers, rural residents sometimes faced multiple address changes, Maggard said. If a rural route had to be split, a resident’s address might change from Route 3 to Route 4.
“The street-style addresses allow the post office to split routes in case of population growth without customers having to change their address,” Maggard said.
Funding for the address change and mapping project has come from a state grant obtained by county commissioners.
Maggard’s office obtains its information by driving the county’s roads with a GPS and marking driveway locations on their maps.
The location of 911 calls from cell phones also can be identified, Maggard said. The dispatcher will see the longitude and latitude of the spot where the call is placed, to within 300 meters.
Residents of rural areas served by the Muskogee and Fort Gibson post offices have already received street-style addresses. Maggard said those addresses will not change.
Citizens out in the county can petition the 911 office and the board of county commissioners to give their road a name instead of a number, Maggard said.
What to expect
Rural residents of Muskogee County will receive letters with their new street-style 911 addresses according to this schedule. Dates are approximate.
Haskell 74436, Sept. 15
Boynton 74422, Sept. 30
Wainwright 74468, Oct. 7
Council Hill 74428, Oct. 15
Oktaha 74450, Oct. 30
Taft 74463, Nov. 5
Braggs 74423, Nov. 19
Gore 74435, Dec. 3
Warner 74469, Dec. 24
Webbers Falls 74472, Dec. 31
Porum, 74455, Dec. 31
Reach Kirk Kramer at 684-2901 or email@example.com.