SOUTHWICK – During Tuesday night’s Select Board meeting, Chief Administrative Officer Karl Stinehart gave an update on the street renaming project that has been created by town officials. Stinehart said that he is in the middle of speaking with the town assessor and town planner and then will set up a meeting with multiple departments heads, along with the town attorney.
After that aspect is complete, the Southwick Police and Fire departments will hold a public information session to discuss it with the residents and, more importantly, the neighborhoods that will be affected with this project.
Reported by the Westfield News on Nov. 30, Sgt. Kirk Sanders and Fire Chief Russ Anderson informed the Select Board that there’s a safety issue where at least two streets, roads, and avenues in Southwick have the same name on the street sign.
Specifically, there is not only an Evergreen Street, but also an Evergreen Avenue and an Evergreen Terrace. The other neighborhoods that are duplicated are Southwick Hill and Hill Crest.
The main issue with this is due to the fact that Southwick Dispatch uses the Next Generation 911 System. When there is an emergency, the system has a map that immediately locates where the emergency is taking place. Although the system reads the location, the duplication of streets, roads, and avenues can present a confusion to EMT’s (Emergency Medical Technicians) when they are responding to a call.
In November of 2017 that exact issue occurred when Westfield paramedics were on their way to respond to an emergency on Evergreen, but were unsure if the address was on Evergreen Street, Avenue, or Terrace. Southwick EMT’s were then able to get to the call and take care of the situation, it’s an issue that town officials don’t want to ever see happen.
“But in the end, it could have really been an issue,” said Sgt. Sanders when speaking with the Westfield News in November 2017.