WENS alerts renewed another year
There was nowhere near the discussion of renewing the Wireless Emergency Notification System (WENS) this year as last. Washington County Communications Supervisor Cara Sorrells said today that the system was renewed during an emergency planning committee meeting in April.
Sorrells said that the system is funded through next April. Washington County Public Health and the Washington County Hospital and Clinics will each pay for a third of the expense of operating WENS. Their contributions are coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an agency under the Department of Health and Human Services. The federal government paid for WENS during its first year of operation in the county.
“I think the last time we used WENS was during a winter emergency last winter,” Sorrells said. “There have been times where we have had to turn it off. It is a fine line. People want to know when something is happening, but if you bother them, people have canceled their subscriptions. We don’t want that to happen.”
WENS sends text messages, voice messages and e-mails to users alerting them of emergencies such as severe weather, boil orders, evacuation orders or pandemics. The service is free to use. For information regarding how to receive alerts from the WENS system, contact the communications center at 653-2107.
Sorrells said that recently she had received calls regarding a Communications Commission discussion of whether to continue an alarm system offered by the county. She said that the discussion was not referring to the WENS system, but to burglar alarms that are routed to the communications center.