Sussex County's 911 Addressing System in Dewey Beach

Date: January 14, 2013

911 Addressing System


On March 10, 2012 the Town Council voted unanimously to fix addresses that are not compliant with 911 Addressing System as specified by Sussex County and the State of Delaware.

The decision to go forward with the 911 Addressing System was predicated on having a uniform system that enables emergency responders to easily find locations requiring emergency assistance.  The Town’s preliminary review of the current addressing system in Town was conducted in 2011, and it was estimated that over 100 properties were not compliant with the State/County 911 Addressing System.  The State Director for 911 Addressing and Homeland Security and Sussex County 911 staff provided the Town Council with information relating to issues with non-compliant addressing at the March 10 meeting.   As examples; properties with numbers, along with alpha, were similar to other addresses on the same street; properties with multiple dwelling units were not identified properly for emergency responders, having both odd and even numbers similar to other dwellings on the same street.

The council recognized that property owners have been satisfied with the addressing system over the years.  Having heard from the various government agencies and the reasoning behind the 911 Addressing System, the council had the choice to:

1)  Leave the current system in place;

2)  Have the county take over the addressing system requiring five (5) numbers for all properties;

3)  Work with the county to maintain most of the current numbering address system in place, and make      changes to the minority of properties that would bring the town in compliance with 911. 

Having reviewed the choices and listened to the advice of counsel and the respective authorities involved in 911 addressing, it was evident that state and local governments throughout the nation have or will be migrating to the 911 addressing system.  As the current town addressing system does not comply with the 911 addressing system it could delay emergency responders in locating properties within the Town.  The town council decided that the risk to town property owners, residents, and our tourists, in addition the potential liability to the Town of Dewey Beach; require the Town to convert as quickly as possible into the 911 Addressing System.  The Town selected choice  (3),  to work with the county to maintain most of our current numbering system in  place and make changes to properties in non-compliance.

Property owners have up to one year to make the changes and notify various business entities that require the change of address.  The Post Office will continue to deliver mail to the old address for that period of time.

The Town Council recognized that this may cause some hardship to property owners in converting to the 911 Addressing System.  However, town wide compliance assures that the uniformity of these changes provides emergency responders the means to easily locate and respond to calls for assistance.



Should you have questions, please feel free to contact the Town Manager or the Building Inspector at 302-227-6363.