City of Fairmont WV, to release new utility notification system
FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WV News) — The city of Fairmont is releasing its new geotargeted utility notification system Friday morning, which will provide residents will faster updates concerning issues like boil water advisories and more.
The Wireless Emergency Notification System (WENS) will specify which customers need such important updates and get a notification to them much faster than the current system does, according to Hanna Turner, marketing and communications manager for the city of Fairmont.
“They’re going to get the notices sooner than they would otherwise, and it’s going to come directly to them,” Turner said. “They don’t have to look for it on social media or on the news or in the paper. Those notices are going to come to them at the same time I get them to post them on the city’s website and social media.
City of Fairmont Utility Manager David Sago said that the geotargeting nature of the system means that only those in the area where an issue such as a boil water advisory would occur get the quick notification, but the advantage is they can be made aware of it wherever they are.
“If you’re working or at the grocery store, you’ll get the ping and you can look at it,” Sago said. “If we put it on our website, by the time it gets to the media or Facebook, you may not see it unless somebody tells you or you decide to go on the website and see what’s going on. This gives you more immediate notice. It’s pretty much instantaneous.”
The update system is part of a new statewide requirement by the West Virginia Public Service Commission, which set a deadline for Jan. 1, 2022. However, Sago said he wanted to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.
“It was due to go into effect on Jan. 1, but I chose to be out in front of the bus instead of under the bus, and I thought we could get it done and tried to confirm that it works prior to that,” Sago said.
As the city continues to use WENS, Sago said, more notices will likely be included, giving people quick updates on city work regarding water, roads and more.
“If we’re going to have a road closed because of installing a water line or paving or whatever it might be, we could probably use it for that, also,” Sago said. “We’re always proactive. We want to be out there and get this done. If we can take advantage of it and give our customers better notice now, three months ahead (of the deadline), why shouldn’t we take it?”
Sago said the service is available to all customers of city utilities, and it will be included for new residents as they sign up for water.
“When people sign up for (utilities), we’re going to ask them if they want to be a part of the service by giving us their email or phone number, and we would enter them at that time,” Sago said.
Current customers can also sign up for the new services by visiting www.fairmontutilities.com or calling the city of Fairmont’s customer service center at 304-366-6213.