Wichita city staff improving communication with non-English speakers after boil-water advisory

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — After this week’s boil-water advisory, city leaders now hope to come up with a more strategic plan to inform the public when an issue similar to this one occurs. 

Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple said although he is very proud of how quickly essential workers stopped the water line break from becoming a bigger issue there is one thing the city has to solve. 

That issue is informing non-English speakers of critical issues like this one. He said even though the city was able to get a press release out in Spanish about the advisory around 15 minutes after the incident that is not quick enough.  

“We now need to be taking those steps further to systemize these alerts by using our current assets,” Whipple said.  

With more than 18 percent of Wichitans being native Spanish speakers, Whipple said the city needs to come up with new ways to inform the community. 

“We are not above learning by any means,” Whipple said, “so our goal is to learn from this and hopefully it never happens again—to learn from it so that when we do need to send out some type of alert, we have a more systematic way of doing that.” 

Mayor Whipple said he and his staff hope to have an open discussion with the Wichita Police Department and other city leaders to discuss this and come up with a long-term solution. 

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