Stow improves communication after residents miss boil water alert

The town of Stow has prioritized finding a more effective communications system after several residents said they had not received a recent boil water alert.

Following:Stow’s “catastrophic” water break is capped; Boil alert may lift on Monday with good test results

Following:Stow Ends Boil Water Advisory, Says Water Is Safe To Drink After Mainline Breaks Over Weekends

“We brought this project to the forefront this morning, and we are looking at a new system that we can break in three months,” Mayor John Pribonic said Tuesday. “It will be a significant investment, not astronomical, but you have to think about the return.”

On December 18, the city issued an alert stating that there had been a “catastrophic” water pipe rupture on a side street near the municipal center, and asked residents to boil their drinking water until that it be declared safe on December 20.

The county also sent alerts and Stow briefed the media and placed signs at doctor’s offices, restaurants, gas stations and other businesses.

Still, many on social media said they didn’t get the message.

Pribonic said the city started considering a more comprehensive communications plan several months ago, but the boil-water alert showed it had to be a priority.

“We are not going to get rid of the communications that we have now, but we want to take inspiration from it and create our own databases to send texts, emails and calls,” he said.

Residents should choose to receive communications and they could choose the type of information they receive and how they receive it. The city plans to help people register for community events and possibly include instructions in other correspondence such as newsletters and even water bills.

“We have 350 to 500 homes that make the transition every year, so our city is constantly evolving and this will have to be an ongoing project, forever, if we are to keep this alive,” said Pribonic.

The city hopes that the system yet to be determined would also be able to rationalize the various communication systems used by the various departments of the city.

Journalist Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, [email protected] or on Twitter @KristaKanoABJ.

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