Cell phones can be registered for reverse 911 calls

CLICK ON — Go to cityofsteubenville.us or jeffersoncountyoh911.com. City users need to click on the “Stay Alert” sign to proceed. County website users will find a button toward the bottom of the page to proceed. - Paul Giannamore

STEUBENVILLE — The City of Steubenville and Jefferson County are offering cell-phone-only households, or out-of-town family members or property owners with concerns for people in the city or county to register their cell phones for reverse 911 calls.

The issue of cell phones not being in the database for the 911 system came to a head in January with numerous water line breaks around the county and in the city. Reverse 911 calls were made to landline phones but people with only cell phones were left trying to find out information by other means.

Robert Herrington, Jefferson County 911 director, said in a social media post last week more than 1,000 cell phones had signed up as of Tuesday in the county. Jefferson County’s 911 site has a link to the Code Red system, which maintains the database used by the 911 system. The 911 system also has posted a link on the city of Steubenville’s website for users to sign up cell phone numbers and addresses for reverse 911 calls. Reverse 911 calls are made for emergencies, boil orders, water line breaks and other issues that can impact homeowners.

“They can send a message to all or part of the city based on address,” said City Manager Jim Mavromatis.

Mavromatis noted registering a cell phone is free and an account does not have to be created to register.

“You don’t have to live in Steubenville. You can use the address you are concerned with in the city. If your mom lives in Steubenville, you can register her address and the system will call you and you can call her. The address is all that you need.

Steubenville residents may access the sign-up by going to the web address www.cityofsteubenville.us. On the site, near the top of the page, there is a picture of a yellow road sign that says “Stay Alert.” Clicking on that brings up a banner that says “read more” at the bottom. Clicking on that takes users to a page that includes a Code Red logo with the words “Click here.” Click there and go to the community notification enrollment page.

For residents using the site www.jeffersoncountyoh911.com, navigating to the bottom of the front page and clicking the button that says “Click Here to Sign Up for Code Red” takes users to the community notification enrollment page.

Once there, the process is the same for city or county residents. The user has an option to sign in with their Google or Facebook account, or to create an account or to simply register without creating an account. Mavromatis the simplest way is not to create an account but to click on the button that says “NO, I would like to submit and review my information.”

Clicking that takes users to a page that contains places to input name, address (the place in the city or county about which the reverse 911 calls are needed), a place for the cell phone number and, if desired, to sign up an e-mail address and to receive text messages. Toward the bottom of this page, there are check boxes for keeping information private and acknowledging that the user accepts Code Red’s terms and conditions.

Once the information is in and the boxes are checked, clicking the “Verify Information” button will advise if corrections need to be made or if the information is complete. If the page is filled in correctly, another page appears with the information the user entered. If it is correct, click “Continue” and the process is complete.

Mavromatis said cell phone companies do not release user data to be used by the 911 systems because of privacy concerns on releasing such data.

“It is your responsibility to go online and get registered,” he said.

(Giannamore’s e-mail address is pgiannamore@heraldstaronline.com.)