CENS: Community Emergency Notification System

Receive emergency alerts on your cell phone!

Until recently, emergency personnel would use CENS to call land-line telephones but did not have the capability to include Wireless (cellular) or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone numbers. Now, owners of VoIP or cellular phone lines can receive the same emergency message as those with land-line phones receive, but ONLY IF THEY REGISTER.

Register your cellular or VoIP phone numbers

CENS allows Public Safety Agencies in Lane County to identify an affected area and, if necessary, send a message that describes the situation and recommend protective actions residents should take. The CENS system will automatically call out to all land-line and Alert Me registered telephone numbers within that geographic area and deliver the recorded message once a voice is heard. If your phone line is busy, the system will attempt to redial the number three times to make contact. If an answering machine picks up the call, the emergency message will be left on the machine.

Watch the public service announcement

CENS PSA from MetroTV on Vimeo.

As with any system, CENS has its limitations.

When linked to a specific address, the location of the cell phone number becomes essentially fixed to that location. This could lead to the situation of a cell phone being notified when the user is mobile and well out of the affected area. Or conversely, the situation where the user is mobile, is in the affected area, but is not notified because the fixed location of the number is in an unaffected area. Please consider this when registering cell phone information for addition to the database.

Following registration with valid contact information, if an incident occurs in your neighborhood that results in activation of CENS, you will receive a notification.

Keep in mind that CENS is an excellent enhancement to our effort to share emergency information with our citizens, but registration will not guarantee notification of any specific event. You are still encouraged to visit Lane County Public Safety Agencies’ websites and to stay tuned to local news channels and radio stations during a community crisis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should register for the CENS Alert Me notifications?

All cellular and VoIP phone subscribers within Lane County who wish to receive CENS Alert Me notifications. Registering a mobile device or VoIP telephone to an address will not affect any land-line telephones already assigned to that location. To register, go to your public safety agency website or www.lcog.org/alertme.

Do I need to register my regular telephone?

No, land-line telephones are already “registered” through the 9-1-1 system.

How will I receive alerts?

When alerts are issued, they will be sent as e-mails, phone calls (voice), and/or or text messages. When you register your telephone number, you will be asked to identify the type of device you are registering. If you register your device as a “cellular telephone” you will receive alerts as both a voice phone call and a text message. Standard messaging rates imposed by your service provider will apply to any text message alerts you receive. If you do not wish to receive text message alerts, please do not register your device as a “cellular telephone”; select one of the other device options that are available. If you register your cell phone as something other than a “cellular telephone”, you will still receive phone call (voice) alerts, but you will not receive text messages.

Will my information be sold or distributed?

No. All of the information you enter will feed directly into the CENS secure database. This information can only be accessed by system administrators and the data will never be sold or distributed to third parties.

When will I receive phone calls?

You will receive phone calls when CENS is activated and your address is within the geographic area chosen to receive the notification message. CENS will only be activated for emergency purposes such as: tsunami warnings, emergency evacuations, natural disaster alerts, missing child alerts, hazardous material leaks and neighborhood emergency incidents.

What do I do if I move or want to opt-out of Alert Me?

If you move after you have entered your information into the website you will need to go back into the website and re-enter your information with your new address. To unsubscribe from all alerts, click Unsubscribe after logging into your account.

Can I enter my telephone number more than once at different addresses? How many wireless and cellular numbers can be registered to one address?

Residents enter their name, address, and up to two phone numbers such as cell phone numbers or VoIP phone numbers. Residents can register up to five additional contacts to their accounts, such as parents, siblings and spouses. Land-line telephone numbers are automatically / already included in the CENS database and should not be registered.

Do I have to enter an actual address?

Yes. If you enter an address that does not exist you will not be in the database and will not be contacted when CENS is activated.

Will I be solicited in any way at the phone number that I enter?

No. You will only receive phone calls when CENS is activated and your address is within the geographic notification area chosen. CENS will only be activated for emergency purposes.

If I am in a location that is different than the address that I enter into the website for my cellular phone, will I still be contacted if an emergency affects the address entered?

Yes. No matter where you are physically located, you will only receive calls for emergencies that affect the address entered into the website. So if you are on vacation in a different state you will still receive a phone call if the address you entered is affected by an emergency.

Does it cost me anything to opt-in for CENS messages?

This service is provided to you free of charge by Public Safety Agencies in Lane County. However, please be aware that text message charges may apply depending on your mobile service agreement and service carrier. Contact your mobile service provider for details.