The hazardous materials leak in St. Clairsville alarmed people, and not just because of the chlorine escaping from the wastewater treatment plant.
The other concern was that many people within a half-mile radius of the plant never got the Code Red notification telling them to shelter in place and close all air intakes.
But 9-1-1 officials explained the reason for that, and offered a way to make sure you get a notification from now on.
It turns out their system doesn’t have everyone’s phone numbers.
Most people use cell phones rather than land lines these days.
And cell phone numbers are not in the county’s 9-1-1 database.
Even so, many other people didn’t get a notification on their house phones either.
Those who didn’t were house phones that are Internet-based, through companies like Comcast, Vonage or Magic Jack.
And also anyone with an unlisted number is not in the database either.
So those who want to get on the list can log on to Belmont County 911.com.
“On the main front page, front and center, we have Code Red,” said Bryan Minder, Belmont County 9-1-1 executive director. “As you scroll down the front page, there’s a link, very large, right in the center of the page. You click on that, and it will take you to the enrollment page. Once you get on there, it’s a very simple process. You put in your name, your address and any phone numbers that you want contacted.”
Code Red messages can alert you to a number of emergencies.
“It could be anything from a simple water break that might affect you, a boil order after a water break, all the way to something like a missing person, a missing child, elderly people, hazardous materials, or the need to shelter in place or evacuate,” said Minder.
The shelter-in-place order was missed by many people for another reason as well.
For many years, the water plant had an incorrect address.
It was listed as 100 Legion Road, when that’s the actual address of the American Legion, which is a quarter mile away.
Officials got that straightened out, assigning the plant a new address–201 Legion Road.
Aside from the occasional glitch in the system, the best way to ensure that you get notified in case of emergency is to go online and register your numbers.
They say it’s to your advantage to get on the list.
“Oh absolutely, it’s definitely important because you just never know what’s going to affect you or your area.” said Minder.
If you have trouble going online and adding your phone number, you can call the 9-1-1 office and give them the information, and they’ll do it for you.
But just don’t actually dial 9-1-1!
The number to call is (740) 695-9104.