Reason for delayed boil advisory alerts: missed connection

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The widespread water boil advisory put in place for a large portion of Fort Wayne late last week has come to an end, but questions about delayed emergency alerts have not.

The advisory went into effect Friday afternoon after a power surge led to a loss in pressure in the city’s distribution system. It wasn’t until Saturday afternoon, though, that Swift911 subscribers received an alert.

It’s that slow response time that has left many people upset.

An emergency alert was sent out nearly 24 hours after a water boil advisory went into effect.

BigAug said on Facebook, “I received my alert Saturday evening. Not happy.” Katherine told us, “Saturday at 2:53pm I was notified of the boil water advisory and at 8:55pm I was notified it was lifted. I still have the texts. If it weren’t for local news I would not have known in time. I am just thankful it was precautionary and not a true emergency.”

Randy Raypole, executive director for the Consolidated Communications Partnership, said the message was so far behind because the agency had not yet added City Utilities to the Swift911 system like it had added, for instance, the city’s fire and police departments.

According to Raypole, this was the first time the new system NewsChannel 15 reported in a 15 Finds Out special report was used for anything other than weather alerts. When it came down to it, Raypole said it was simply a situation they had not yet considered.

“We didn’t have anything formally set up yet with City Utilities and we decided it would be a good message to put out,” Raypole said. “This weekend here wasn’t in a timely manner by any means, but we wanted to go ahead and start using this system.”

Raypole said he has already been in contact with City Utilities to make sure that response time for situations like this weekend are improved in the future.

“We found out working with City Utilities with this precautionary advisory that this was one of the things that we hadn’t done any contact or in-depth work with and now we’re getting those set up right now,” he explained. “So if this ever happens again, we’ll be ready and we can get it out very quickly to the public.”

Despite the less-than ideal outcome of this attempt, Raypole still encourages everyone to sign up for emergency alerts through the Swift911 system.

You can register via the Swift911 web portal on the websites of the city, county, Fort Wayne Police or Allen County Sheriff’s departments – or by downloading the Swift911 Public app.