Teens Launch Web Site to Aid in Emergency Response

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A group of teenagers starts a project that will sharpen emergency response by making homes easier to locate.

The city of Statesville is under the lens this week with the start of a new project by a local teen. Andy Laws, age 16, has a plan that would put Statesville on the technological map -- literally. His idea entails gathering photos of houses in the city and creating an online database.

Housephotos.org is a free application that provides photographs of homes by street address. Laws was inspired to begin the project in hopes that emergency services, such as first responders, would utilize the database for more effective responses. The site is dynamic in the fact that it has many different uses. Domino's Pizza was contacted by e-mail and showed genuine interest in the project for delivery purposes.

Knowing the physical appearance of a home will also make it easier to locate, which has raised a few questions from the community. Various security measures are in place to insure the integrity of the database, and to keep the public as safe as possible. Homeowners can choose to contact the site by e-mail if they want their listing removed, though Laws discourages it and with good reason.

The teenage volunteers of the site are referred to as the Street Team. The group is composed of various teenagers from around Iredell County, who see the site as a way to positively affect the community. The crew hopes to finish the project by 2009, a time when they will have to disband to further their education after high school. For more information, visit http://www.housephotos.org.

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