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AC Alert Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

In the event of an immediate threat to your life, health or safety, you could receive a call, text message or email from the City of Berkeley with recorded information and instructions. Please read the following frequently asked questions about AC Alert.

General Questions 

What is AC Alert?

AC Alert is a public notification system for Alameda County. Berkeley uses AC Alert to share information and emergency instructions with the community.

What does this cost?

There is no cost for the system. Your phone carrier’s normal phone and messaging rates will apply.

Subscribing to receive messages

Do I need to sign up?

Listed AT&T land line phone numbers in Berkeley will automatically receive voice calls for emergency warnings.

For all other contact numbers/methods, you must sign up through the AC Alert website.

Can I sign up even if I don't live or work in Berkeley?

Yes. AC Alert enrollment is open to everyone.

Do I need to provide an address?

You are not required to provide a physical address but it is strongly recommended.

Most AC Alert messages are sent to a targeted geographical area. For example, if the Berkeley hills were threatened by a wildland fire, an emergency warning message through AC Alert would target addresses in the threatened area.

By providing one or more addresses associated with your account, you are increasing the likelihood that you will be contacted if an emergency occurs in an area you care about. This could include your work address, children's school, or other important locations.

I signed up a mobile phone number that has a non-local area code. Will I still receive calls?

Yes. Your phone’s area code does not impact whether or not a call AC Alert calls you.

I signed up several communication devices. Will AC Alert contact me on all of my devices?

For most messages, AC Alert will reach out to your contact numbers/methods in the order you provided when signing up. In most cases, you can confirm that you have received the message and the system will cease attempts to contact you on the other contact numbers/methods you provided. If you do not confirm, the system will continue to attempt to reach you using all of the contact numbers/methods that you have provided.

Why do I have to sign up my unlisted, TTY/TDD, VoIP, and digital phone service numbers instead of being enrolled automatically? 

AT&T only provides information about listed land lines. No other services provide their subscriber information to the City.

The only way AC Alert can contact unlisted, TTY/TDD, VoIP, or digital phone service numbers is if they sign up for AC Alert themselves.

Getting AC Alert Messages

Why am I receiving messages if I never enrolled in AC Alert?

Listed AT&T land lines are automatically enrolled to receive voice calls with emergency warnings from AC Alert.

Why are messages I receive through AC Alert different depending on the device I use?

Each mode of communication has different limitations. Messages received by phone and email can be longer than text messages.

How reliable is AC Alert message delivery? Will AC Alert work in an earthquake?

While the City has made every effort to ensure reliability of its notification systems, delivery of AC Alert messages depends on external networks and providers outside the City’s control.

To maximize the likelihood that your AC Alert messages will reach you, subscribe as many means of contact as possible. Mobile phones, land line phones, and email systems all use different equipment and may be affected differently in an emergency.

User Information and Privacy

How do you know my phone number?

AT&T provides Alameda County with telephone and address information for listed landlines.

How will the AC Alert use my information?

This information will only be used for AC Alert messaging and will not be used or distributed for any other reason.

Can anyone else get my contact information?

The information provided by AT&T and community members is kept confidential and would only be disclosed if required by a court of law.

There is a logo on the signup page— who is Everbridge?

Everbridge is the emergency notification platform that supports the AC Alert system. By contract, Everbridge cannot use any information provided by community members for any other client or service and all information is kept confidential.

Other Emergency Preparedness Resources 

Is this the same as the Nixle system used by the Berkeley Police Department?

No. Nixle is focused on law enforcement issues. AC Alert and Nixle may occasionally carry the same messages, but AC Alert is Berkeley’s primary emergency notification system for the public.

Is this the same as the University of California Berkeley's WarnMe system?

No. While UC Berkeley and the City of Berkeley cooperate on public safety issues, AC Alert and the WarnMe system are separate. If you have already signed up for WarnMe, you must still sign up separately for AC Alert.

What else can I do to get ready for emergencies and disasters?

Visit the Berkeley Ready page to learn more about Berkeley’s preparedness efforts and to find important information to help you, your family, and your community build disaster resilience. 

What happened to the Berkeley Emergency Notification System (BENS)?

On July 1, 2017, the City of Berkeley stopped using the Berkeley Emergency Notification System (BENS) and joined Alameda County’s AC Alert System. BENS subscribers were NOT automatically enrolled in AC Alert, and must sign up for emergency alerts and other notifications at the AC Alert website.

AC Alert - Berkeley Home

Emergency Alerting

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Fire Department, 2100 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: fire@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-3473
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903
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