Yes, WECAN: Community alert and notification system goes live

Pam Monson

Wilmington residents can now sign up to receive phone, text and email alerts and announcements from the city of Wilmington.
City administrator Joie Ziller told the City Council last week that the staff had attended a training on the Will County Emergency Management Agency’s Everbridge notification system and that the local non-emergency communication network was scheduled to go live by the end of last week.
Wilmington will pay $1,500 per year to use the system, which will come from the Emergency Services and Disaster Agency budget and will be pro-rated for this year.
The local network will be called the Wilmington Emergency Community Alert Network, or WECAN.
All listed landline phones are automatically opted in for notifications.
Users of cellphones and other mobile devices, and those who have landlines with unlisted numbers, have to opt in and subscribe to notifications they care about based on their location. The information is protected and will not be used for any other purpose.
When the city issues a notification about a potential safety hazard or concern, landline phones will receive a call. If residents don’t sign up for non-emergency notifications, they’ll only receive emergency alert notifications on their landline phone.
Subscribers can receive a message on the voice or text communication methods they registered.
They can receive:
• Announcements, which may inform you of scheduled water and sewer repairs, street closures, resurfacing projects and parking bans.
• Notices, which may consist of community information regarding upcoming festivals, changes in garbage pick-up and community press releases.
• Public safety, non-emergency information, which may include messages from local officials with information about crime prevention information, public safety events, neighborhood crime alert information and fire hydrant testing.
The city will use the system to alert residents about a variety of events, ranging from severe weather, fires, floods and other emergencies, to more routine announcements, such as road closures and water utility maintenance, says a press release issued by the city.
“We have a commitment to ensure public safety, community awareness and emergency response. To uphold this, when critical information and public service announcements are available, we need to reach our residents as quickly and reliably as possible, said Police Chief Phil Arnold.
“The Everbridge emergency notification system allows the city of Wilmington to disseminate this information across all types of devices, ensuring residents have access to real-time public information when they need it.”
To register for notifications, go to the Will County Emergence Management Agency website, and click on “Emergency Notification Sign Up” tab at the top of the page. Click “Enroll Here” and fill in the information requested on the sign up page, including your name, email address, and a user name and password. On the next page, you’ll create a profile in which you tell the system how you would like to receive notices, followed by a page to list locations where you spend a lot of time, and finally, you get to choose what alerts to receive.
You can stop receiving notifications at any time by removing your contact information from your profile.
Residents should note that the system is not being used as a severe weather notification system. Weather related information should be obtained from officials channels such as the National Weather Service or a regional media source. It is a best practice to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio at your residence or place of business that broadcasts official weather services warnings, watches and other hazard information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The city is not allowed to use the system to market businesses or for political activities.