What is Windsor Alerts?

Windsor Alerts is a software application used to send emergency alerts, notifications and updates to electronic devices including: landline phones, cell phones, pagers, smart phones and e-mail accounts. In the event of an emergency, natural or man-made, the county will be able to send important alerts and updates directly to city residents if they have signed up for a Windsor Alerts account.

How does Windsor Alerts work?

In an emergency situation, Windsor Alerts subscribers will be sent information by the city, to inform residents of the situation and give instructions on how to react. Residents should then promptly follow instructions and continue to keep devices near them in the event that subsequent information is disseminated.

What kind of alerts and notifications will I receive?

You can receive alerts about: ALL account holders will receive tornado warnings and other critical emergency notifications.

What is a Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)?

A Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) is a public safety technology that allows public safety agencies to send critical notifications relating to dangerous weather, missing children or other dangerous situations. The WEA system enables government officials to target emergency notifications to specific geographic areas. This technology is only used when absolutely necessary. The key difference is that Windsor Alerts is a voluntary, opt-in program specific to the city of Windsor only, whereas WEA is a technology that is embedded in all modern cell phones.

What are the features in Windsor Alerts?

One major component of the new alert system is the ability to deliver more targeted alerts during location specific emergencies such as gas leaks, hazardous materials events and flash floods. This technology will enable residents to manage their own account information with more ease, ensuring they can readily receive important emergency alerts and notifications.

Is there an App for Windsor Alerts?

There is an App for Android and iPhone users. Search for Everbridge and select the “ContactBridge” app on the Google Play or Apple Store. These apps are free, however text and data charges may apply, check with your mobile carrier for more details. Once you download the App, simply log in to the app with your User Name and Password to activate.

There is no application available for Blackberry or Windows based phones at this time.

I would like to discontinue receiving text and/or email alerts.

There are three ways to modify or un-enroll from SMS and email notifications in Windsor Alerts. The first option is to reply ‘STOP’ to SMS message or click the ‘Unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of email messages. Residents can also log into their account and modify the contact paths and subscription options to better suit their needs.

Why should I provide my address?

Providing your address enables us to send target information specific to a geographic location, such as your home, place of business or school. Providing an address allows us to alert you of events such as gas line breaks/leaks which are only sent to account holders with addresses listed near the event location. You can enter up to 5 addresses.

Will my contact information be shared?

Absolutely not. The information that you provide will be used for Windsor Alerts notification purposes only. We will not distribute or sell your contact or location information to any vendor or other organization. Your personal information is collected in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“MFIPPA”) and its regulations for the collection, retention, use and disclosure of personal information. MFIPPA has the stated purpose “to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by institutions and to provide individuals with a right of access to that information.

Why can I only add 5 delivery methods (cell phones, emails, etc.) to my account?

This is a software limitation of the system. If you are interested in receiving alerts to more than 5 delivery channels (cell phones, emails, etc.), you are allowed to register for multiple accounts. We encourage residents to have their family members, neighbours and friends sign up for individual accounts rather than link numerous users to one account.

What number will show up when you send me a text message? What number will show up when you call me?

When you receive text messages from Windsor Alerts, they will be sent from the short code. If you choose to receive voice calls, the system will contact you from 519-253-6573. Please store these numbers as a contact in your phone as ‘Windsor Alerts’.

What is a Short Code and why does Windsor Alerts use it?

A Short Code is a 5 or 6 digit number that is used to send SMS / text messages to mobile phones. The Windsor Alerts notification system uses short codes in lieu of the traditional 10 digit phone number for several reasons. First, long codes are meant for person-to-person communication (Example: texting your spouse that you will be home late due to bad weather) and can only send one text message per second. For high-volume, time sensitive mass messaging (Example: Successive weather warnings) short codes are a better fit since they can send 30 messages per second to tens of thousands of devices – much faster than Long Codes. Cell phone carriers vet and approve all Short Codes prior to their intended use, thus preventing carrier filtering or suspension during heavy cell phone traffic. This vetting is critical for ensuring timely communication to county residents during inclement weather, major traffic delays or other emergencies.

Why is the new system not allowing me to Register a user name?

The new Windsor Alerts system uses unique user names. If someone else has already entered that user name you will have to come up with a different user name and password to register for the system. This is an added security feature of our new system.

Why are there so many contact methods provided and why would I want to "re-order" them?

Windsor Alerts allows customers to choose the type of delivery path (text, email, pager) and order of delivery. For example some residents may want to place the priority on receiving text messages before email, or vice versa. This customization allows residents to choose which delivery method suits their needs best.

Is the registration process available to those who are not fluent in English?

You can use Google Translate to transform the text data on the Everbridge registration site to the language that you are most comfortable with. There are currently 109 language options available to choose from.

What does "VOICE Mobile Phone" and "VOICE Home Phone" mean?

One of the enhancements of this system is the ability to send alerts via voice communication paths. This means the system can place a phone call and play an audio message for you. Note, if you do not want to receive phone calls from the system, we suggest that you do not provide a number for these “VOICE” paths.

Can I register with an address outside of the city of Windsor?

The system is for Windsor residents, however if you work in Windsor you can sign up using your work address to receive alerts specific to that address.

If you live in a community outside Windsor, you would need to sign up in that community. If you work in Windsor you can sign up using your work address.

How often will I get alert notifications?

To a large extent, it’s up to you. As we launch the system, you will only receive emergency messages. We will be adding more options in phase two – that may include sports fields, special events, etc.

Is it free to sign up?

Yes, it is a free service offered by local governments; however standard messaging and data rates may apply. Check with your wireless carrier’s plan for details. You will be charged a fee if you answer ‘Yes’ to a text message, a message fee will apply – if you click on the link, there is no fee.

Will my personal information be kept private?

Yes, local governments do not sell your email address or phone number, and they only use this information to send you alert notifications.

What is the difference between a watch, warning and advisory?

An advisory informs you that poor weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences that may be hazardous – they are identified for future conditions.

A watch means that conditions are favourable for but not occurring or imminent.

A warning means that conditions are imminent or occurring.

What is the difference between shelter in place, evacuation and lock down?

Shelter in Place: One of the instructions you may be given in an emergency where hazardous materials may have been released into the atmosphere is to shelter-in-place. This is a precaution aimed to keep you safe while remaining indoors. (This is not the same thing as going to a shelter in case of a storm.) Shelter-in-place means selecting a small, interior room, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there. It does not mean sealing off your entire home or office building.

Evacuation: is the urgent immediate departure or escape of people away from an area that contains an imminent threat, an ongoing threat or a hazard to lives or property.

Lockdown: A lockdown of a building or group of buildings is an emergency procedure intended to secure and protect occupants who are in the proximity of an immediate threat. This procedure is used when it may be more dangerous to evacuate a building than stay inside. By controlling entry/exit and movement within a facility, emergency personnel are better able to contain and handle any threats.