By Jeff Gallatin
City officials are gearing up to keep a lot of VIPs in the know about what is going on in the community.
North Olmsted’s safety-service department has set up a VIP Text List, to which people can sign up to receive community updates and information on their mobile phones. The service is open to city residents and businesses that answer business lines with a cellphone in North Olmsted.
“It’s a great way for people to keep in contact with the city about events or safety issues within the city,” safety-service Director Scott Thomas said.
There is no charge to residents of the city. However, standard rates for messaging services for residents with their phone carriers will apply. Customers with inclusive and unlimited text messages in their plans will not be charged for the service. The service is powered by HomePages.
To subscribe, people should text the message T724 to 36000. The only information required to opt in to the VIP Text List is a mobile phone number.
Thomas assured people that HomePages and Federal Communications Commission officials said their mobile number is secure and will not be sold to a third party.
“This is intended solely to be something which will keep residents informed of major events or issues in North Olmsted,” Thomas said. “It’s a great way for people to stay instantly informed on issues which affect the city, like city events, safety alerts, road closings, weather advisories or fire and police announcements.”
North Olmsted fire Chief Tom Klecan said it will be a major benefit in emergency situations for safety workers and citizens.
“It’s a pretty helpless feeling for people not really knowing what’s going on in an emergency situation,” he said. “This will give them more information and it will benefit us by having people better informed about those emergency situations while we’re attempting to deal with them.”
Thomas said city officials will not use it for minor issues and will limit the announcements to a maximum of five per month unless there is an emergency situation – in which case a text about the emergency will be sent.
Mayor Kevin Kennedy said the service will provide an additional avenue to people for information on things that will affect them and their families.
“We are always looking for tools to assist in communicating city news to residents,” he said. “The VIP Text List has the potential to be an effective resource in reaching out to a large population of our residents instantly.”
He said the program is designed to complement the city’s other communications resources, such as the mayor’s e-newsletter, city website, cable channel and the new digital sign at the corner of Lorain and Dover Center roads. For further information on the VIP Text List, go to the city website at www.north-olmsted.com.