Pennsylvania passed the Public Safety Emergency Telephone Act of 1990 (Act 78), providing a statewide emergency number, 911, for the purpose to direct emergency responders (fire, police and ambulance) to the site of an incident as quickly and accurately as possible.
That means that every household has to have a number. So, county by county, Pennsylvania has been undergoing readdressing. Each municipality and township has had to or will be reviewing all street and road names. Some roads may even undergo a name change. But every home will have a number and street address, eventually, which will make all emergency responders happy because they will be able to find the designated location quicker and more efficiently, which may result in saving more lives and property.
That isn't to say that the readdressing has gone smoothly or without some issues.
"The Monroe County readdressing project has had an unintended negative consequence. People in rural areas are attaching their house number signs to utility poles. This not only creates a dangerous condition for utility workers who may need to climb the pole, it is also illegal under PA statutes," says Tom Lager, Vice President of Operations and General Manager of the Palmerton Telephone Company.
This has been notably prevelant in Eldred Township.
"We've been advised that this practice is illegal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, not just for address markers but for any type of signage not pre-approved by a utility company," says Gary Hoffman, director of communications of Monroe County Control Center.
Glenn Sheckler, Outside Plant Supervisor for the Palmerton Telephone Co. says that these address markers on telephone poles are a dangerous safety issue for the telephone company linemen.
"If one of our linemen had to climb up the pole and slipped, he could be sliced open by one of these markers," he says.
Hoffman says that Eldred township personnel will be on the lookout for these signs and will notify homeowners to remove them. "We are not undertaking any notification program at this time, however I would not rule it out if the education campaign through the county and newspapers does not have the desired effect," says Lager.