Confusing Street Addresses Creates Problems

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February 10, 2006
A home street address number, we all have one. But what if you and your next door neighbor’s addresses are different by a couple hundred numbers? It is happening in Aiken County. News 12 says one of those areas is Sudlow Lake Road.

When you’re driving down the road and looking for a house number, it should be relatively easy. The general rule of thumb: the even numbers are on one side and the odds on the other. Emergency workers are finding out the hard way that the rule of thumb can be broken.

“Ambulance goes down the road and says I’m in 100 block their call is in 300 block then they hit 500 block and I apparently missed it so they start turning around,” said Kathy Randall, Aiken County Supervisor of Dispatch.

Kathy Randall is the supervisor of Aiken County’s emergency dispatch and says it is a big problem throughout the area.

“It’s very, very frustrating,” Randall said.

They get more than 300 emergency calls a day. At least 20 of those calls have to be called back for clearer directions.

“It’s difficult, it gets very disheartening not to be able to find someone to know you could possibly save their life and 15 seconds may make a difference,” Randall said.

The numbers along this side of the road are in the 600’s, but if you go right across the street the numbers jump into the 300’s to accommodate the new houses, then back into the 600’s, see the problem?

It’s one Magdalene Robinson knows a little too well.

“You try to call people to tell ‘em where you live and you need ambulance or cops, well I couldn’t find it. It’s awful,” Robinson said.

“It’s not unusual we have several areas in Aiken County that are like that,” said Debra Folk.

So why is it being done? Debra Folk, the E-911 coordinator, says in the past standards for numbering street addresses weren’t as strict.

“So numbering could’ve been random, just what’s convenient,” Folk said.