Emergency call box installed at McDonough Nature Preserve

Photo by Jeffrey Saulton This emergency call box was installed in the McDonough Nature Preserve in Vienna last week. Vienna officials said it was installed because the area of Rosemar Road has little to no cell phone signal coverage.

VIENNA — In order to give users of the McDonough Nature Preserve a feeling of extra safety and security, an emergency phone has been installed to connect directly with 911 for assistance.

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp said the first emergency phone installed in the parking lot should not be taken as a sign there are problems in the park.

“No problems there, just for safety since cell phone service is spotty in that area,” Rapp said. “If there were to be an accident, such as someone falling, it would take longer to get help by going out to the main road trying to locate a cell phone signal.

“Right now it’s the only one planned since the rest of the city has good cell phone coverage,” he said.

Rapp said he and other city officials got the idea after seeing similar emergency call boxes on the campus of West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

Photo by Jeffrey Saulton An upclose look at the controls. All that is needed to make a call directly to Wood County 911 is the push of a button.

Adam Clegg, Vienna IT director, said there have been a few incidents where an individual was hurt after falling while walking on a trail in McDonough Park.

“We have many older users of the park and not all of them have cell phones,” he said. “It’s 500 acres of land and there are places where there is no signal.”

Clegg said the boxes are easy to use.

“All you have to do is push the one button, they are ADA compliant and even grade school-age children can follow the instructions; you are directly connected to 911,” he said. “It’s just to make the park more secure. It’s just like the cameras we have in other areas of the city to help prevent vandalism.”

There are many city properties, such as city hall, Spencer Park, Jackson Park, Spencer’s Landing, with cameras, Clegg said, and the emergency phones could be placed in many of the same places, depending on how much the first one is used.

“We’re just being proactive,” he said.