FAQ

General

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What is Alert Porter County?

Alert Porter County is Porter County’s official emergency alert and notification system. This system is used to send alerts to the public and internally to county employees during emergencies. Alert Porter County is a free service that allows you to sign-up online to receive customized alerts via text message, email, and voice message as well as social media (Facebook and Twitter). In addition to emergency alerts, you can choose to receive customizable notifications such as severe weather, health, and special event information. This service is provided by Porter County at no cost to the public; however, message and data rates may apply.


Why should I sign up?

Receive real-time alerts regarding severe weather watches and warnings, county building closures or special event information that may affect travel, business activity and safety. By signing up for Alert Porter County, you will be among the first to know.


How much does it cost?

This service is provided by Porter County at no cost to the public; however, message and data rates may apply depending on your provider and phone services. During the sign-up process you have the option of how you want to be notified and the types of alerts to receive. For any type of notification you choose to receive, you can specify whether you want text message, email, voice delivery ‐ or a combination of any of these.


Why do I need Alert Porter County when I have a television, social media or a radio to keep me informed of this information?

Alert Porter County simply serves as another tool to keep the public informed during emergencies. By signing up, the public can receive real-time alerts directly on their preferred devices in the event you are not near your television, radio or do not have access to your social media sites.


Can you guarantee that I will receive notification if I register?

Notifications are not issued for every event. Due to factors beyond the control of Porter County, there is no guarantee of notification. Disasters and emergencies are unpredictable and chaotic. Notifications are dependent on external providers such as wireless carriers or e-mail delivery service(s) outside of the control of Porter County. The system Alert Porter County is built on utilizes several means of communications to ensure that should one communication method, technology, or delivery option be unavailable, other methods will be utilized to improve the likelihood that citizens will see the message.


Sign Up

How do I sign up for Alert Porter County?

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Signing up for Alert Porter County is simple. Go to Smart911 Sign-up and register your contact information. To update your existing Alert Porter County preferences, go to the Log-in page.


When I signed up for Alert Porter County it says I already have an account.

Alert Porter County is integrated with Smart911, a free 9-1-1 service available throughout Porter County. This means that you can manage information and preferences for both services through one account, accessible at www.smart911.com.


Is Alert Porter County the same as Smart911?

While Alert Porter County integrates with the existing Smart911 service, they are two services that each serves a unique purpose. Smart911 provides information that a person has entered into their Safety Profile directly to 9-1-1 when you call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency. Alert Porter County will ensure you receive emergency alerts from Porter County.


I already have a Smart911 account, how do I sign up for Alert Porter County?

Login to your account at www.smart911.com and click on the Preferences panel on the right hand side of the Smart911 Dashboard.


I don’t have a Smart911 account but want to sign up for both services, what do I do?

You can sign up for both Alert Porter County and Smart911 by visiting www.smart911.com and creating an account. Be sure to add as much information as you want dispatchers to have in the event of an emergency where you find yourself dialing 9-1-1. Smart911 is a service provided by Porter County. Smart911 is not available in all counties or locales. Smar911 profiles will only appear in 9-1-1 centers where Smart911 is available. To check availability visit Smart911 Availability.

After creating your Smart911 safety profile, click on the preferences panel on the right hand side of the screen to ensure you opt-in to receive alerts from Alert Porter County.


Will I receive alerts if I don’t sign-up?

At this time, the opt-in feature is the only way in which to receive alerts from Alert Porter County. While the system is capable of alerting landline and cellular devices belonging to those who do not opt-in to the notification lists, Porter County is working through registration and licensing processes to do so. Check this page for updates on this process. In order to receive alerts, we recommend that you sign up at www.smart911.com and opt-in to the notification lists that you choose in order to receive the alerts on your preferred devices.


I don’t own a computer ‐ who can help me sign-up for Alert Porter County or Smart911?

You can visit your local public library to sign-up online for Alert Porter County. Those who do not have access to a computer may ask friends or family to assist. Be sure to only request those you know and trust in assisting you with the sign-up process.


Alerts

What types of Alerts will I receive?

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Emergency alerts are sent 24/7 when there is an immediate threat to life and/or property. In addition to emergency alerts, you can also choose to receive customizable community notifications.


Severe Weather

Porter County has also customized the Severe Weather alerts. You can opt-in to receive separate alerts for each of the following situations:

  • Blizzards
  • (Flash) Flood Watches and Warnings
  • High Wind Warnings
  • Severe Thunderstorm Watches and Warnings
  • Special Marine Warnings
  • Tornado Watches and Warnings
  • Winter Storm Watches and Warnings

Beach Hazards

  • Information pertaining to rip currents, chemical hazards, or biological hazards in lake waters.

County Offices Closure

  • Information pertaining to the closure of county buildings.

Emergency Preparedness Meetings

  • Find out about emergency preparedness events and training.

Health

  • Contagious diseases, food and water contamination and more.

Prescribed Burns

  • Notifications for prescribed fires in and around Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park.

Road Closures

  • Find out about construction work or accidents affecting travel on particular roadways.

Special Event Information

  • Community events that may affect travel, business activity and safety including parades, emergency drills, demonstrations and more.

Test Messages

  • Receive periodic alerts to verify the operation of the Alert Porter County System.

How will I identify incoming alerts?

All text messages sent from Alert Porter County are sent using five or six-digit numbers called ‟short codes”. When you receive an alert via a short code, you’ll receive a message from either of the two following short code numbers: 67283 and 226787. We encourage you to save these numbers in your phone’s address or contacts list. Simply create a contact entitled ‟Alert Porter County” and add the numbers above to the standard phone number field. This way, when you receive an alert message these will be more recognizable to as an official communication from the County. Text message and email alerts from Alert Porter County will start with Porter Co: [then the remainder of the message will be typed here]. This is another way to see that this message came from the County.Voice message alerts may be sent from the phone number 219-465-3400 (Porter County Administration), 219-465-3490 (Porter County EMA) or from 9-1-1 (Porter County 9-1-1). Email messages will originate from email address porterco@getrave.com. This e-mail is not a monitored e-mail. Do not attempt to send email to this address; it is used for outbound messaging only.


Can I call the alert phone number back or reply back to the email?

You are not able to reply to texts or email sent by Alert Porter County. Voice messages provide a dial-back number that will ring to various county departments. However, those answering the phone at the call-back number may not be responsible for sending the message. If you have questions regarding an alert, e-mail help.alert@porterco.org.


When will I start receiving alerts?

Once you have signed up online at www.smart911.com and confirmed your contact information within the system, you will begin receiving alerts.


Who sends out the alerts?

The majority of alerts are sent out by County officials representing EMA and 9-1-1. Other alerts, such as many of the weather related alerts are automated and are prompted upon the National Weather Service issuing weather watches and warnings for the various zip codes in Porter County.


Will the Alert Porter County system call numbers outside of Porter County’s area codes?

Yes. You will receive alerts on numbers outside of Porter County’s area codes provided you have registered them on your Smart911 profile. To update your profile, go to the Login Page.


How does the Alert Porter County system respond to busy signals or no-answer situations?

If a call completes and is sent to your answering machine or voice mail system, a message is left. If a phone call is not answered or busy, the system redials your number a couple of times. Officials do have the option to change the number of re-dial attempts and may choose to do so based on the severity of the event; however, the system default is two attempts.


If I am unable to make or receive calls or text messages during an emergency, will I still receive alerts from Alert Porter County?

Alert Porter County messages are more likely to be delivered to your devices than messages sent from local phone numbers during emergency situations where telecommunications are down; however, receipt of Alert Porter County messages is not guaranteed. The vendor for Alert Porter County, Rave Mobile Safety, supports mass notifications via geographically redundant systems, including systems hosted outside of Porter County and Indiana, to improve reliability and redundancy while lessening reliance on local infrastructure that might be distressed during an event. Receipt of Alert Porter County messages may depend on your phone carrier and their cell phone tower operations, network connectivity, or other factors.


Privacy and Contact Information

Will my contact information be disclosed or shared?

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No. Your information is private and will not be used or distributed in any manner. The information that you provide is exempt from public disclosure and will be used for emergency purposes only.


What precautions are taken to protect personal contact information stored in the Alert Porter County system?

Personal information provided to Alert Porter County is private and only used to notify you for official Porter County communications and to support the County’s emergency Services. Your information is not used for marketing purposes and will not be sold to telemarketers or data-mining organizations. A variety of ‟opt-in” mechanisms are available to ensure you are getting just the messages you want to receive, delivered via the devices and communications methods that you choose.


How do I update or remove my contact information in the Alert Porter County database?

Go to the Login Page to login and edit your contact information.


Who do I contact if I have any more questions?

Additional information can be obtained by e-mailing the Alert Porter County Help Desk at help.alert@porterco.org.