The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department held a test of its food safety alert system Tuesday, reaching nearly 1,300 food establishments in Kanawha County within minutes through an automated calling system.
The system was developed in response to the Jan. 9 chemical leak, according to Nasandra Wright, director of environmental services for the KCHD. The agency spent hours of manpower contacting restaurants and food service providers in the county, and Wright said she hopes the new alert system will allow the KCHD to warn establishments much more efficiently.
“This is another way we have improved our service,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, executive director and health officer for the KCHD. “During the Freedom Industries chemical spill, our staff members spent hundreds of hours on the telephone, calling each business. This will allow for much more efficient communication.”
Wright said the system allows the KCHD to customize its automated message, and the agency can choose to alert a portion of the establishments on its list depending on what areas may be affected during a crisis.