NEWS 2015-12-15T20:16:05+00:00


Your Address - More than just package delivery

 Your Address – More Than Just Package Delivery

Brian A. Gottschall, MPA CEM

Director, Berks County Department of Services

Most of us go on through our day not thinking much about the address of our home or business. We use it so frequently; it is as common to us as our last name.  It is on our checks, our bills, our identification, everywhere important to our daily lives.  Hopefully, this is all your address ever means to you.  However, approximately 200,000 times a year in Berks County, someone calls 9-1-1 to report an emergency.  Some of these calls are on roadways, in the wilderness, or in other locations where there is no physical building involved.  Most though, involve the need to send emergency services to a home or business.

In the 1990’s, there was a countywide effort to move from the old system of rural routes and boxes to unified structure addressing. That effort was highly successful, but oversights, changes in construction since that time, and other issues mean that there are still thousands of structures in Berks County that are not properly addressed in a way that meets the national standards set forth by the US Post Office and the National Emergency Numbers Association (9-1-1 professional standards body).  Every day, responders are sent to addresses that are difficult to find, which results in a tangible delay in the delivery of emergency services.  This is not a problem unique to Berks County.  In fact, Berks is well ahead of many other neighboring jurisdictions in this regard.  For decades, county 9-1-1 centers have “worked-around” these issues thanks to 9-1-1 call-takers and emergency responders with local knowledge, the skill of the information professionals manipulating data at the county level to make systems work, and sometimes just brute force when speaking with a 9-1-1 caller and getting the information needed.

However, we are on the cusp of the most significant change in the delivery of 9-1-1 since the implementation of e9-1-1 that permitted cellular locating technology. This nationwide initiative called NextGen9-1-1 is, of itself, not the subject of this information piece, but significant information can be found by searching the Web for the term.  NextGen9-1-1 is intended to improve efficiency, reduce costs, ensure the ability to summon help from all electronic devices regardless of the technology, assist 9-1-1 Centers in supporting neighbors experiencing technical issues or a surge in calls and speed the ability to locate callers.  The magic of this technology is highly dependent on the data available to match against the call, and this means that the data must be accurate, complete, and comport to national standards that allows it to match the other data in the system.  A lack of consistency, or inaccuracy in the data, will result in the call being potentially misrouted and, once getting to the right 9-1-1 Center, causing a further difficulty in sending the correct help.

The County is working closely with the local municipalities to ensure we are prepared to evolve our 9-1-1 delivery system. This is going to result in the need for some structures to be readdressed.  This is not a step taken lightly.  Everyone involved understands the impact that changing your address can have on your life.  Consider though, that an unclear address could cost you or your loved one your life.

The hope of this article is that an awareness of the intent and need, will help to assuage the concerns of those that might be impacted by these changes, and encourage them to work hand in hand with their local township/borough/city by embracing the change. Also, to ask that property owners consider whether an emergency responder coming to their property location could easily and quickly find the structure.

If the house is back a lane or common driveway, is there an indication at the public street to use the lane to find the structure? Is the building marked with numbers that are large enough to be visible from the street?  What about at night?

The intent of all of these efforts is not to create cost, difficulty, or inconvenience for the property owners/occupants. It is absolutely about doing everything that can reasonably be done to get help to someone having an emergency where seconds may be the difference between life and death.

Please work closely with your local government officials if you receive notice that your address has been identified as being problematic. Even better, if you are aware that your address is:

  • Out of order, or otherwise not in sequence with neighboring addresses;
  • Inclusive of letters (eg. 123 A Main Street);
  • Part of an area where odd numbers and even numbers are not separated on the two sides of the street;
  • Using a street name that does not match the street signs on your street;

don’t wait for the local government to call you. Reach out to them and help them to identify these potential problems and work with you to fix them.


From the Lower Alsace Township Fire Company

Is Your Home A Mystery To Find? Can it be found quickly In an emergency when every second counts especially at night?

Unfortunately, emergencies can, and do happen. When precious seconds can mean the difference between life and death, you want to be sure you've done everything you can to put the odds in your favor. For $20, the price of a delivered pizza, reflective address signs can help.

These signs are highly reflective and very visible. It will be easier for emergency services, visiting friends, family, and repair and delivery persons to find your home, especially at night. In addition, it looks great and is inexpensive.

Our reflective address markers offer these benefits:

  • Better visibility. Especially at night, when reflected by headlights and when it counts the most. Help 911, fire, and law enforcement find your home quickly.
  • Low cost and peace of mind. An inexpensive way to help ensure home safety and security.

Do I really need one of these address signs?    My house already has numbers on it.

To find out, drive or walk up and down the street in front of your house. Put yourself in the position of a rescuer that's racing to your house in a life or death situation. Can your address be seen clearly and easily from the street, at a distance, and especially at night? Statistics indicate that Emergency Services receive millions of phone calls per year for emergencies and accidents that occur at home. Rescue personnel will tell you that finding the home is the hardest part. Wasted minutes and seconds can mean all the difference. If you have numbers that can't be seen or are small, peeling, falling off, faded, etc. then the answer is YES, I need a new address sign.

Help yourself and your community by making sure your home can be found easily and quickly. At the very least, your pizza will always be hot!




The 2018 Street Fair will be held on June 30 (rain date July 1)

Time: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM, setup begins at 9:00 AM
Location: Friedensburg Road from Antietam Road to Melrose Avenue.

Highlights include food, games, crafts, vendors, games for kids, rescue dogs, pony rides, a pulled pork contest, music and much more.


20′ x 10′ spaces are available for businesses or groups, $10 fee is due upon reservation.
>> click here to download a vendor form

The fair is a fundraiser for Carsonia Park.  We ask that vendors contribute 10% of sales or a minimum of $10 to the cause.


Questions may be directed to

2018 Antietam Valley Summer Playground Program at Carsonia Park

When: June 18-August 2 • Monday-Thursday • 9 am-4 pm

This is a free program offered to children ages 7-12 who live in the Antietam Valley.  Registration is required.

When you register your child for the playground program, they will automatically be registered to participate in the TIPS program. TIPS will take place on Monday and Wednesday mornings of Playground from 10:30-12:00.

** new Download2018 playground registration packet

Registration packets are also available at the Mt. Penn Elementary School office, or may be requested from your child’s classroom teacher.

Please be sure to license your dogs

The Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement will be conducting a license canvas in Berks County on April 11th.  Multiple wardens will be going door to door educating dog owners as well as checking the status of their dog licenses and rabies vaccinations. 

Lower Alsace now included in Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine

Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Expands to 21 Municipalities in Five Southeastern PA Counties
Pennsylvania received nearly $3 million from USDA to combat destructive pest

 Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has added 21 municipalities in Berks, Bucks, Lehigh, Montgomery and Northampton counties to the areas quarantined due to the presence of the invasive insect Spotted Lanternfly. The quarantine was already in effect for parts of those five counties, as well as Chester County.

Earlier this year, the department received $2.9 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund efforts to control the insect, and $25,000 for outreach efforts to combat its spread. The Pennsylvania departments of Transportation, and Conservation and Natural Resources are also participating in control efforts, as well as staff from the USDA at no expense to the state.

“Spotted Lanternfly has proven to be a tremendously destructive pest that spreads rapidly and can be devastating to our valuable grapes, hardwoods and hops,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is working strategically, bringing the resources of three state agencies and the federal government to bear on trying to contain the insect in the quarantined counties and stop its spread outside those areas. The public can help us fight this pest considerably by educating themselves, keeping an eye out for the insect, and reporting it when they see it.”

The Spotted Lanternfly is an inch-long black, red and white spotted insect native to Southeast Asia. It is an invasive species in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species that also grow in Pennsylvania. The pest had not been found in the United States prior to its initial detection in Berks County in the fall of 2014.

Crews from the department and its partner agencies are strategically working from the outside edge of the quarantined area inward to eliminate the Ailanthus, or Tree of Heaven, which is its preferred host for feeding and reproduction. Within the quarantined area, crews are working to eradicate the adult insects found during the summer months.

“We understand how alarming it is to property owners who see numbers increasing within quarantined counties,” Redding added. “Even with added resources, we are unable to visit all infested properties immediately. That is why the public’s cooperation in containing the spread of the insect is so vitally important. We need the public’s help.

The department recently launched a targeted social media campaign to help educate the public about the invasive pest. The campaign includes a video, which is available at

“Social media is a powerful tool for helping visually identify this pest,” explained Redding. “We encourage citizens to watch and share our Spotted Lanternfly video. Anyone can join us to help protect Pennsylvania from this bad bug.”

The department encourages anyone who finds the insects outside quarantined areas to report sightings to Please include photos, if possible, to help us confirm your sighting. Suspect specimens can be submitted directly to the department’s headquarters in Harrisburg or to any of its six regional offices. Specimens also can be submitted to your county Penn State Extension office. Do not submit live specimens. You may also call the Invasive Species Report Line at 1-866-253-7189. Please provide details, including the location of the sighting and your contact information. You may not receive an immediate response, as call volume is high.

The quarantine is an important legal designation. Residents of municipalities under quarantine can follow simple directions to ensure that each citizen complies with the law. The quarantine order directs residents and municipal authorities to follow guidelines to prevent the movement of Spotted Lanternflies at any stage of development. This includes inspecting all wood and vegetation that might leave the quarantined municipality, in addition to inspecting vehicles, trailers, and other mobile equipment prior to moving it out of the quarantined area.

The quarantine now covers following municipalities. Newly added locations are listed in bold:

Berks County

  • Reading City; Alsace, Amity, Centre, Colebrookdale, Cumru, District, Douglass, Earl, Exeter, Hereford, Longswamp, Lower Alsace, Maiden Creek, Maxatawny, Oley, Pike, Richmond, Robeson, Rockland, Ruscombmanor, Union and Washington townships; and Bally, Bechtelsville, Birdsboro, Boyertown, Centreport, Fleetwood, Kutztown, Lyons, Mt. Penn, St. Lawrence, and Topton boroughs

 Get the most current information on the PA Department of Agriculture Web site