PARKERSBURG - People seeking information about city services and events in Parkersburg will soon have a new option.
Mayor Bob Newell announced Friday the city of Parkersburg will be the first in West Virginia to launch a 3-1-1 line.
In the event of severe weather, snow and ice, and other events such as the windstorm that occurred in June, Newell said, the new line will provide information to city residents regarding resources available in Parkersburg.
"During the storm in June, the city building was able to operate its telephone lines through the use of its generator," he said. "This is not an emergency line. All emergencies should be directed to 9-1-1 lines."
Initially, only customers of Frontier Communications will be able to call the 3-1-1 line. Newell said the city is working with SuddenLink Communications and other telephone and cell phone providers to allow their customers to use the service.
"However, it is the decision of these providers to link their customers to the 3-1-1 line," he said.
A Bit of Background
Mayor Bob Newell said the request for the line was made more than two years ago.
The approval from the Public Service Commission took longer than expected because a state agency made a similar request after the city of Parkersburg.
Recently, the Public Service Commission gave the approval for Parkersburg's program, Newell said.
The decision to launch the 3-1-1 line with only one provider initially was the threat of another major storm earlier this week, Newell said. The opportunity to work out any problems prior to full availability also prompted the decision to start the program with one provider.
Typically, the 3-1-1 line can be used to report code enforcement issues, problems with street lights, traffic lights, and signs. Additionally, information on recycling, trash pickup, leaf pickup, snow removal and other complaints will go to the 3-1-1 line.
If the operator cannot answer the request, inquiries will be routed to the proper department. Newell said callers should get an answer within 48 hours, if possible.
Initially, the 3-1-1 service is only available during normal business hours of 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. An answering machine will record messages after hours and on holidays and weekends. Calls will be returned the following business day, Newell said.
During a state of emergency the hours will be expanded.