Emergency Community Notification System

Emergency Community Notification System - Could 911 Call You

Pittsylvania County now has the ability to provide emergency messages to the public.


Using the Emergency Community Notification System, local public safety officials can now call you directly with detailed instructions about what you should do during an emergency. This technology allows 911 to send an emergency message to land-line telephones, cellular telephones, and VOIP telephones in a specified geographic area using a recorded message.

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If no one answers at your home or business, the system is able to leave a message on your telephone's voicemail or answering machine.

Hazards that may result in the use of this system could include chemical hazards, nearby criminal activity, or any event that poses an imminent danger to the health and safety of local citizens. Typical "protective actions" may include evacuating to a safe location, or sheltering-in-place until the crisis is over. Be ready to respond quickly if you get a call.


The Emergency Community Notification System is not perfect. The technology has some limitations and may not reach everyone within its target audience. The system cannot communicate with:

  • Land-line telephone systems that require the caller to press a number, begin speaking, or interact in any other way.
  • TTY or TTD telephones for the deaf or hard-of-hearing. There is no universal standard for that equipment to be able to communicate with the system.
  • The system only provides the message in English at this time. If you cannot receive a message from the system, arrange to have someone nearby pass the warning information on to you.

How to Prepare to Receive Alerts

  • Do not hang up, some people mistake this urgent warning for a telemarketing call because it is automatically dialed and is a recorded message.
  • Listen to the full alert, and quickly take notes to help you remember the details.
  • Follow the instructions in the message exactly.
  • Do not call 911 unless you have an actual emergency at your location.
  • Stay off the phone during the emergency except to pass the message on to others who do not have a landline telephone.
  • Tune into local radio or television to get more information.

What to Do if You Receive a Call

  • Make sure you have access to a land-line telephone. If you do not have a land-line telephone, arrange in advance to have one of your neighbors pass on the alert to you.
  • Remove "active" solicitor blocking from your phone. Use a different blocking technology, or register your phone number with the National Do-Not Call Registry at 888-382-1222.
  • Keep a paper and pen near your phone to write down important instructions. The emergency information will not be repeated.
  • Talk to other people in your household or office about this alert system. The person who answers the phone should be ready to receive the message and let others know about what protective actions they should take.