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AlertOC Home >> FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is AlertOC?

AlertOC is a mass notification system used by the County of Orange and participating cities to issue government related messages to residents and businesses. The system has the capacity to send thousands of messages within minutes via phone, e-mail and text. Only authorized officials are allowed access to the system.

How can I sign-up to receive notifications?

Sign-up online by going to the homepage of this web site and selecting the city or area in which you live and/or work from the map.

Sign-up through mail by downloading a registration form and mailing it to the County of Orange at the address listed on the form.

How does the AlertOC service work?

Authorized officials record a voice, e-mail or text message that is then delivered quickly to individuals in the notification system.

What types of messages will be sent using the AlertOC service?

The primary use of the system will be to disseminate messages pertaining to the health, safety or welfare of a community that is being affected by a perceived, emerging, or imminent emergency event.

A participating city may also choose to use the service to disseminate non-emergency messages deemed of interest to its citizens.

Is my contact information included in the AlertOC system database?

AlertOC contains residential and commercial landline phone numbers for most of Orange County’s geographic population. In accordance with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), landline numbers are acquired from AT&T and Verizon’s 911 telephone database. The use of the 911 database is regulated by the CPUC code sections 2872 and 2891.1. The code states that information contained in the 911 database is confidential, proprietary and shall not be disclosed or used except by authorized personnel for the purpose of emergency notifications.

It is important and recommended that community members provide additional phone numbers, e-mail addresses and a text number by registering through the AlertOC web portal. Each address location can have up to three phone numbers, two e-mail addresses and one text number.

VOIP Users: Please note that VOIP numbers aren’t currently provided through the E911 database. We are working with VOIP Providers to acquire this information, however, until we are able to collect it, please use the AlertOC registration portal to provide the AlertOC System with this information.

What precautions are taken to protect personal contact information stored in the AlertOC system?

AlertOC is a service powered by Connect-CTY®, a product of Blackboard Connect, Inc. (BCI). Your county/city government and BCI take citizen security and privacy concerns seriously. Policy and contract agreements have been put into practice that prohibit AlertOC contact information from being shared, sold, traded, leased or loaned to outside parties. Staff access to citizen contact information is limited and approved at many layers. Citizen provided contact information transmitted through the web-portal is sent over a secure connection.

From a technical perspective, BCI utilizes multiple physical and virtual layers of firewalls to maintain data security. Data is hosted in state-of-the-art facilities which require photo identification, thumb-print recognition, keyed access, and are continually staffed with full-security personnel. All data is encrypted prior to being placed on tape for offsite storage. BCI also retains an external, independent security firm to perform annual security audits. No confidential information is transmitted between BCI and its customers using e-mail, but rather always uses either secure communication channels.

What if I don’t have a landline, can the AlertOC system call my cell phone?

Yes, residents whom have registered their cell phone numbers in the AlertOC system will receive messages on their cell phone. Since there are many instances when the public may not be at home to receive an emergency message phone call, public safety officials recommend that all residents with a cell phone add their number to the AlertOC database.

Does the AlertOC service replace other emergency notification systems?

This system supplements, does not replace, other communication methods used by emergency responders. During an emergency, County or city call-in emergency information lines will still be available. Television, radio and county/city web sites will continue to broadcast important announcements as well.

If I have provided more than one phone number, what number will be called?

If an emergency situation arises that requires a notification to be sent to multiple phone numbers, we will activate the system to place a simultaneous call to all of your numbers. For matters with less urgency, you may be notified at only one phone or by e-mail or text.

Will the AlertOC system call numbers outside of Orange County’s area codes?

Yes. The area code does not impact whether or not a call is made.

Will the AlertOC system work if I have a call screening system on my phone?

There are several varieties of call screening devices which use differing protocols for screening. In general, the system has been found to work with these devices, however, some may require pre-programming to allow the County’s or city’s telephone number to pass through. We will be conducting periodic tests to assure that messages are being properly delivered to numbers in the notification database.

How does the AlertOC system respond to busy signals or no-answer situations?

For busy signals, call waiting signals or when there is not an answer, the call will be repeated several times in an attempt to reach you. If the phone is answered by a message recorder, the message will be left on the answering device. If after several attempts the call does not successfully go through, the system will stop attempting to call.

If I’m listening to a message live, is there a way to repeat it?

Yes, at the end of the message, simply press the star (*) key on your telephone to have it repeated in its entirety.

Who is the legal entity for AlertOC?

The County of Orange is the sponsor and lead entity responsible for the AlertOC program. Participating cities may also have a separate contract for non-emergency use with the AlertOC service provider, Blackboard Connect, Inc.

Which cities are participating in the AlertOC system?

AlertOC was installed by the County in July 2008. Many cities are in the process of implementing the system locally and have varied readiness timeframes. Click on the participating cities link of this web site to find out the status of your city’s participation.

Why would a city not participate in the AlertOC mass notification system?

Cities not participating in the AlertOC system may have their own mass notification system. To find out if the city in which you live or work uses AlertOC or if they have their own system, look for your city under the participating cities link of this web site.

How do I change or delete the information I registered?

To change or delete the information you registered into the AlertOC System, select the city in which you registered and then select the “Edit or Delete” option. Your login id is the primary e-mail address you provided at time of registration. If you experience difficulty or did not register an e-mail address, please contact your city.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?

If you have additional AlertOC questions, please look up your city on the participating cities link to obtain the phone number and/or e-mail address.