BENTLEYVILLE — Police Chief Gabriel Barone Jr. said the village police department does have emergency notification capabilities through the Cuyahoga Emergency Communications System. But details on how the department knows when to make the alert through CECOM remain unclear.
Chief Barone last month updated village officials on the emergency notification system after questions surfaced from council members.
Councilwoman Kathleen Esposito specifically addressed the concern as to whether Bentleyville has reverse 911 capabilities to alert residents of emergencies, such as boil alerts, during June’s Streets and Safety Committee meeting after a water main break required a boil alert for Grey Fox Run, Eagles Nest, Glenridge Court, High Point Lane, Quail Ridge Drive, White Tail Lane and Pinecrest Drive.
Because those neighborhoods use the Village of Chagrin Falls’ water services, the Chagrin Falls Utilities Department issued the alert via hang tags on front doors, Ms. Esposito had said. She noted that most residents in Bentleyville do not use their front doors and may not have been aware of the boil alerts.
Bentleyville police had resorted to using their Facebook page to get the message out to residents, and Chief Barone had said in an interview that he was looking into what methods the village had available to notify residents of emergencies in the future.
After confirming that the village has reverse 911 capabilities at the council meeting, Councilwoman Kathleen Hale asked what events would qualify for the notifications to village residents, to which Chief Barone said would be mostly emergencies. He added that water main breaks would be included for boil alerts as Ms. Hale noted the June water main break.
Because some Bentleyville neighborhoods use Chagrin Falls’ water services, Ms. Hale expressed concern over communications between the Bentleyville Police Department and Chagrin Falls. She said that in talking to Mayor Bill Tomko of Chagrin Falls, they discussed reverse 911 methods for future water main breaks; however Bentleyville residents would not be included in Chagrin Falls’ reverse 911 due to being in a separate village.
“When there’s an interruption in service and people need to know about it, they need to have a better method, including text reverse 911, and [Mayor Tomko] said that they (Chagrin Falls) are going to do that in the future, but their reverse 911, it just wouldn’t reach us,” Ms. Hale said in the council meeting. “I like to make sure that we’re not going to get dropped off the planet because nobody knows what to do.” She asked how the police department would know when to issue a boil alert in the future.
“How can we make sure that the communication channels are in place so that we will get the message?” she asked about Bentleyville and Chagrin Falls’ water services.
“Chagrin Falls services the residents in the Village of Bentleyville that have Chagrin water,” Mayor Leonard Spremulli said. “So, why shouldn’t the residents in Bentleyville be given the same accommodation by Chagrin Falls that Chagrin Falls gives to its residents?”
Ms. Hale explained that the neighboring village does alert the Bentleyville residents, noting the current use of hang tags, and that it is just inadequate. She explained that Chagrin would not be able to notify Bentleyville residents who use their water services through their reverse 911 due to being in a different village list through CECOM.
Instead, Ms. Hale asked the Bentleyville Utilities Committee to make sure communication is properly set up between the neighboring villages to assure notices to the police department for reverse 911 notifications to residents regarding future water-related emergencies. Councilman Terry Hemmelgarn, chairman of the utilities committee, and Councilman Ryan Rubin confirmed they would get in touch with Chagrin Falls.