Here and there across campus, people have been wondering – and sometimes concerned – about the new numbers suddenly appearing on their buildings. Not to worry – neither the U.S. Postal Services nor the campus mailing services are changing. The new signs are primarily being installed to help emergency responders locate campus facilities more quickly during 911 calls.
As part of the Campus Addressing Project, all WSU buildings will now be assigned street numbers. According to Chris Tapfer, emergency management coordinator, the project information is being used to update the Whitcom 911 data base and geographic information system (GIS) map used by police, fire and ambulance services. “It will help give emergency responders more intuitive directions for locating 911 events within the WSU Pullman campus boundary,” writes Tapfer on the Office of Emergency Management website.
The addressing changes will also bring WSU in line with enhanced 911 requirements that allow state-of-the-art Whitcom systems to precisely locate emergency calls. The changes have already been implemented by Whitman county and the city of Pullman.
Whitcom handles all landline calls in Whitman and Asotin Counties as well as the city and rural areas of Moscow. All of these areas plus all phone numbers considered to be on the WSU campus are currently using the E911 addressing system.
Mark Janowski, Whitcom spokesman, said E911 provides information automatically to the dispatchers including the phone number of the call, name of person the phone is registered to, the physical street address and the appropriate agency that should be dispatched to that location. For cell phones, if a caller makes a cellular phase 2 call, Whitcom is able to localize them via latitude and longitude coordinates.
Never-the-less, Tapfer says callers should always give dispatchers as much information as possible. He also emphasizes that if you are experiencing an emergency but don’t know the building address, just give the 911 dispatcher the building name and room number and responders will still be able to find you.
The campus addressing project is scheduled to be completed by August 2008. At this point, all buildings have been assigned street addresses; the WSU facility roster and telephone data base have been updated; a WSU street address map has been developed and numbers have been installed on most buildings on the Pullman campus.
Campus mailing services will continue to deliver WSU mail as they have in the past using the existing mailstop codes.
For more information, see www.oem.wsu.edu