Our First Notice system automatically takes your closing information by phone, 24 hours a day. When weather conditions force you to close or alter your schedule, First Notice will allow you to inform internet users and viewers immediately. You can access the system from any touch-tone telephone.
This will allow WSET to display your closing or delay information quickly. We display school and high priority messages during Good Morning Virginia and other times as warranted, and display all categories (School, College, Daycare, Government, Business, Church and Others) on our website only.
To include your school, college, daycare, government agency, business or other organization, mail us a request for a First Notice Packet on you organization's stationary to:
First Notice Closing Packet
ABC 13 WSET-TV/DT
2320 Langhorne Road
Lynchburg, VA 24501-1547
Make sure your name, phone number and the number of students, employees and/or clients served in a day are included.
Our First Notice system is primarily for the use of school systems across the Heart of Virginia. School is what we call "required" and the closing of a school system affects thousands of students, teachers and other school staff. Colleges and daycare centers are similar in nature because they too are Educational. Colleges rarely close unless there is a major weather event. Major daycare centers usually close if the schools in their city or county close. We always list schools, colleges and daycares on both our website and on-air.
Government closures vary depending on the types of services. Administrative offices and courts rarely close, but Libraries often do and Recreation activities are usually canceled. Major employers with hundreds of workers (hospitals, large manufacturers, etc.), large retail centers with hundreds of staff and customers (malls) and financial institutions fall under the Business category. Other closings are handled on a case by case basis. These closing will be on our website ONLY, unless there is a compelling reason to put them on-air.
The last category is churches. Church closings are taken only on Wednesday evenings and Sundays and this is the only group not required to sign up in advance. You might say we take Church closings on "faith." Church closings will show on our website on Wednesdays and Sundays, and on-air on Sunday mornings from 5:00 a.m. until about 11:00 a.m.
And we WILL NOT say you are open, unless there is a compelling (life or death) reason. If you are not listed as closed, people should assume you are open.
All groups except churches are required to sign up in advance, use various codes and passwords, and return signed confirmation information. You would be shocked at the number of attempts made by certain people to close something that the person calling has no right to close. This is for your protection.
We also prefer that organizations using this free service if they serve, employ or affect more than 100 people. Depending on the group or event, we will go as low as 75. And yes, we do verify the numbers.
As always, we take church closings on "faith." Church closings will show on our website on Wednesdays and Sundays, and on-air on Sunday mornings from 5:00 a.m. until about 11:00 a.m. If you need to cancel any Wednesday evening or Sunday services ONLY, call our hotline at 434-455-5128 and leave only a message about your closing or delay.
Please give your name, a phone number where you can be reached, your church's name and locality (if unusual, please spell it) and the closing message. The closing message may consist of ONLY the following:
All Services Canceled, Early Services Canceled, Sunday School Canceled, Early Serv. & Sun. Sch. Canceled, Morning Services Canceled, Evening Services Canceled and Youth Activities Canceled.
It takes about 30 minutes to get through 400 closing messages. Parents do not want to wait that long to see if their child's school system is closed. That's why we do schools, colleges and daycares on both our website and on-air, and other categories only on our website. On Sundays we've actually had as many as 800 church closings. This is the reason we encourage folks to go to the closings on our web site WSET.com.
A little pre-planning will go a long way in making your life and the lives of those you want to reach with your closing, a lot easier. For organizations, businesses and churches with less than 100 people we recommend phone trees and/or answering machine messages to get closing messages out.
If you're having an event that people have signed up for during a potential snow event (let's say 50), make sure you get their phone numbers. Give your list to five people you trust, call them with your information and have them call nine other people each from the list.
If you're a daycare center with 35 children, you can do the same thing, have a phone tree using parents. Or tell the parents that it's your policy that when a certain school system is closed, the center is closed, too.
We encourage businesses, and even governments and schools to use the messages with a code number, plan letter or a call in message. One group's Plan A or Code 3 could be totally different from another group's.
When the weather's really bad, most people use their common sense and call ahead before they go shopping for a car or to get a haircut.
Canceled Or Cancelled?
We've received calls, letters, emails and personal visits from children, parents, community leaders, even English teachers very upset that we spell the word "canceled". We've gone to six dictionaries and they all say pretty much the same thing…
From - the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company…
2 entries found for canceled.
v. can·celed, also can·celled can·cel·ing, can·cel·ling can·cels, can·cels
To cross out with lines or other markings. See Synonyms at erase. To annul or invalidate. To mark or perforate (a postage stamp or check, for example) to indicate that it may not be used again. To equalize or make up for; offset: Today's decline in stock price canceled out yesterday's gain. To omit or delete.
The first spelling is the preferred spelling. And, believe it or not, one letter goes a long way when you're limited in the number of characters you can put in a closing message.