Frequently Asked Questions – Alert HC and Smart911

What is Alert Hamilton County?

Alert Hamilton County, or “Alert HC,” is a mass notification and warning system used to alert residents about emergencies and other important information in Hamilton County.

How can I register?

Register for Alert HC at www.alerthc.org.

Why should I sign up for Alert notifications?

Alert HC enables officials to provide critical information directly to you as emergencies happen.  The alerts provide information through text message, email, cell phone, home phone or work phone.

What types of notifications will I receive?

Alert HC will send alerts about severe weather and emergency information. You are able to select which notifications you wish to receive when you register for Alert HC at www.alerthc.org. Alert HC is customizable and allows you to choose what weather notifications you want to receive, how you want to receive them and the location for which you want to receive alerts.

What types of notifications will available via voice call?

Alert HC will only call opted-in users for the following warnings: Civil Danger Warnings, Civil Emergency Messages, Evacuation Immediate, Flash Flood Warnings, Flood Warnings, Shelter in Place Warnings, and Tornado Warnings. The only automatic voice call (sent even if you did not opt-in) is to alert residents of a Tornado Warning.

Can I change my alert or profile settings?

Yes. To edit your alert or profile settings, please log in to your account at www.alerthc.org.

When will Alert HC be used?

Alert HC is used to send emergency notifications when there are imminent threats to life, health and safety for residents in Hamilton County.  When weather alerts are issued for Hamilton County by the National Weather Service, users who opt-in to receive those respective alerts will be notified.

Who sends alerts?

Hamilton County Emergency Management & Homeland Security Agency, the Hamilton County Communications Center, and participating jurisdictions within Hamilton County are authorized to issue alerts and notifications.

Who can register for Alert Hamilton County?

Anyone can register for Alert HC. Whether you live, work, travel through, or have family/friends in Hamilton County, the service is available to you.  However, only addresses within Hamilton County will receive an alert from the system.

What if I previously provided my information to a city notification system?

If you previously provided your information to a city notification system, you still need to register in Alert Hamilton County to ensure you receive emergency notifications.

Is my landline information automatically uploaded into the system?

Landline information of customers serviced ONLY by Cincinnati Bell have been automatically uploaded into the system. If you get landline phone service through any other provider, or through your Internet service, your information was not automatically uploaded into the system. Please register your personal and contact information via www.alerthc.org.    

Can my landline be removed from the automatically uploaded landline database?

No. Due to privacy restrictions, your landline phone number cannot be deleted from the system. If you do not wish to receive alerts to your landline, please be aware that you will only be notified via landline call if a Tornado Warning is issued over your address.

Why do I need to provide an address?

In order to take advantage of the features of the system, interested users should enter a valid Hamilton County address which allows a specific geographic location to receive automatic weather watches and warnings.

If you are not comfortable entering your home address, you may use the address of a local school, post office, public building, or any valid street address closest to your home or place of work.

Will my personal information be secure?

Any information that you provide in your Safety Profile is secure and private. Your information will be used only for notification purposes or to assist first responders if needed during an emergency. Your information will not be sold or provided to any vendor or outside organization.

What if my phone number, address, or email address changes?

Once you have registered to receive notifications, it is important that you keep your profile current.  If your contact information changes, please remember to update your information in your profile. You can change your information by logging in to your account at www.alerthc.org.

Every six months, you will be prompted to go into your profile and provide updates to personal or contact information.

What number will appear when Alert Hamilton County sends me a text message?

When you receive text messages from Alert Hamilton County, they will be sent from any of the following short codes: 226787, 67283, 78015, 81437, and 22911. We encourage you to add this text number into your mobile phone contacts to easily identify text messages that are alerts.

What types of devices are compatible with Alert Hamilton County?

Text messaging (SMS network), email accounts, cellphones, and landlines are compatible with Alert Hamilton County.  Standard text message charges may apply from your mobile carrier, depending on your text message plan.  If you are unsure about text messaging on your cell phone, please contact your provider.

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How does Smart911 work?

Smart911 allows you to create profiles with contact information such as home, work and mobile phone numbers, along with additional details you feel 9-1-1 call takers may need to assist you during an emergency. With Smart911, any time you make an emergency call from a phone registered with your safety profile, the 9-1-1 system recognizes your phone number and automatically displays your profile on the screen of the call taker who receives your call.

Does the addition of the Smart911 service affect emergency services for those who do not choose to participate?

Participation in the Smart911 service will not change the level of emergency 9-1-1 service provided to residents, businesses, and visitors; the Smart911 service allows users to submit information that they believe would be helpful to dispatchers and first responders in the event of an emergency.

What is a Safety Profile?

A Safety Profile is a set of information about an individual, or a household that is contained within one account. Information can include details about all members of the household, all phone numbers (mobile, landline or VOIP) and all addresses, including home, workplace and even vacation home information. Users may also add details about medical conditions, medications, vehicles, emergency contact persons, pets and other information.

How can Smart911 benefit wireless phone users?
Wireless phone users are encouraged to sign up, as wireless phone calls to 9-1-1 only provide a general location of the caller, not an exact address. Adding your home, school and work addresses (including apartment and room numbers) can help responders locate you more easily. However, even if you have a Smart Profile, it is very important that 9-1-1 callers, particularly those with mobile phones, provide their current locations to dispatchers at the start of each call.

How long does it take to create a safety profile?
Setting up a profile can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how much information you wish to provide. You can always go back and update existing information, or add additional information to your profile.

How do I know if my safety profile was successfully created?
When you complete registration, you will be directed to your Safety Profile dashboard and a message will be sent to you confirming your account, via your choice of email, text message or automated call. The information you provide in your Safety Profile will not be made available to 9-1-1 call takers unless you have verified the phone(s) listed in your profile.

Is there a cost to sign up for the Smart911 service?
There is no fee to create or maintain a Safety Profile.

Can I include my family members?
You are encouraged to create a Safety Profile that includes everyone in your household. You can also create Safety Profiles on behalf of elderly parents, those with disabilities, or anyone not comfortable with computers, designating yourself as the emergency contact.

What if English is not my primary language?
You can create a Safety Profile in multiple languages and specify your primary language. When you enter the Smart911 “Sign Up” portal, click “Select Language” on the upper right hand corner of the screen.  A drop down menu will appear and you may choose your preferred language to create your Smart Profile.

When your profile displays at the 9-1-1 center, it will be translated back into English. If an interpreter is required, the 9-1-1 dispatcher will be able to see which language you designated as your primary language.

How can Smart911 help when I am away from home?
Your Safety Profile is portable. If you travel to a community that utilizes the Smart911 service, your information will also be provided to first responders in that area. This is why it’s important to include all pertinent phone numbers in your Safety Profile, including mobile phones, landlines and workplace numbers.

Once I’ve signed up, do I need to do anything else?
The more up-to-date your information is, the better. The Smart911 service prompts users to verify their information every six months. However, you should update your profile any time there is any change to your information.

Is my information secure?
Yes. Your information is made available only to 9-1-1 dispatchers and first responders only in the event you call 9-1-1. Your Safety Profile is non-searchable and your information will only be displayed to 9-1-1 dispatchers for a limited amount of time. In some areas, you can choose to allow Smart911 to share your profile with Emergency Managers as they prepare for and respond to emergencies. If you reside or work in one of these areas, you will be presented with this option.

In addition, your information is stored in geo-redundant databases that are located on opposite sides of the country. In the unlikely event of a database shutdown, the system will automatically transition all of your information to the backup database, resulting in zero impact to your safety profile.