What is Alert Waterloo Region?

Alert Waterloo Region is a service that allows you to receive important public safety messages in the event of a large scale emergency such as a flood, severe weather, or other emergency situations.

The service can deliver notifications to your preferred devices via telephone, cell phone, text message, and email.

When a notification is issued you will receive a message via voice, text or email depending on how you chose to receive notifications.

What do I do if I receive an AlertWR notification or test message?

If you receive a real emergency notification:

  • Listen/read the message carefully. Instructions will be given and further follow up notifications may also be sent.
  • Do not call 911 unless you require immediate emergency assistance. If you get an emergency notification regarding a situation in your area, the 911 systems are already aware of the situation and very busy. Leave the lines open for those who may need immediate assistance. Follow the notification instructions.
  • Stay tuned to local media for emergency information and updates.

Periodically, the system will be tested.

If you receive a test notification:

  • Do not call 911. Leave the emergency lines open for those who need immediate assistance.
  • Do not call the call centres. Call centre lines may quickly become overwhelmed.
  • You may be prompted in your notification to confirm that you have received the message. This should keep you from receiving any further notifications from that test.
What is the difference between Shelter-in-Place and Evacuate?

Shelter-in-Place

Sheltering in place is the practice of going indoors or remaining indoors because of a dangerous situation outdoors (an airborne chemical release or other safety issue).  If public safety officials ask you to shelter in place, it is recommended that you stay indoors until you receive updates and instructions that it is safe to open windows or doors or leave.

When sheltering in place you should:

  • Go or remain indoors.
  • Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
  • Where possible, shelter in rooms away from windows and outside doors. Upper floors without windows are preferred because some chemicals are heavier than air and may seep into basements.
  • Avoid drawing air in from outside.  Turn off heating and air conditioning, close the fireplace damper.
  • Do not use bathroom or kitchen fans/vents.
  • Using duct or other wide tape, seal all cracks around doors and vents in the room.
  • Monitor news radio, television, websites for information and updates.
  • Avoid using the telephone unless it is an emergency.

Evacuation

Authorities will not ask you to leave your home unless they have reason to believe you are in danger. If you are asked to evacuate, you will have little time to gather belongings so ensure you and your family have an emergency preparedness kit ready at all times.

If you are asked to evacuate, take:

  • Your emergency plan and kit.
  • A cell phone, charger and/or emergency radio to follow local media and Alert Waterloo Region notifications for updates and further instructions.
  • Medications you or your household members take.
  • Your pets.

Before you leave your home:

  • Shut off water and electricity if officials tell you to.
  • If you are not asked to turn off natural gas then leave it on so you don’t have to wait for the utilities company to come and reconnect it afterwards.
  • Lock your home.
  • Tell a family member or close friend where you are going and when you expect to arrive.

Evacuate means to leave the area immediately. 

Who do these notifications come from? Which phone number or email address will they come from?

All cities and townships within Waterloo Region and the Waterloo Regional Police Service have partnered with the Region of Waterloo to provide this service. 

When you receive a notification it will come from the following contact(s):

  • If you have subscribed to receive phone call alerts the call will come from Region of Waterloo phone number: 519-575-4400. If you are using a wireless device add this number to your contact list to immediately identify it.
  • If you have subscribed to receive text message alerts all AlertWR text messages will come from the following number: 89364.  Add this number to the contact list in your wireless device so you can immediately identify the incoming text message.
  • If you have subscribed for email alerts: Add the email address: noreply@everbridge.com to your preferred email contacts so notifications aren’t sent to your spam/junk email folder.
How do I sign up?
  • If you are a hydro customer within Waterloo Region, the primary phone number listed with your local hydro company will receive a phone call notification without having to sign up.      
  • To receive a notification to a secondary phone, text message, or e-mail address you will need to create a personal profile. You can also sign-up family members and indicate their preferred method of receiving AlertWR notifications.
  • Alternatively, you can pick up a paper version at your local Municipal Office or library or print a copy from this link

What if I work/study in the region but do not live in the region?

Use your work/school address in the address field of the subscription form to receive notifications if you live outside of the region. As long as the address is located in Waterloo Region you will still receive notifications to the contact information attached to the address.

I am a business owner in the region. Can my business address be subscribed for notifications?

Yes. Use your business address in the address field of the subscription form along with your preferred contact method. As long as the address is located in Waterloo Region you will still receive notifications to the contact information attached to the address.
Will I still receive notifications if I don’t sign up?
If you are a hydro customer within Waterloo Region, the primary phone number listed with your local hydro company will receive a phone call notification without having to sign up.
Will I receive notifications if my device is off or set to silent mode?
If your device is off, you will not receive the alert.  If you are using a wireless device that is set to silent you will not hear the notification but will still see the alert as an incoming call or text message.
What if my contact information changes?

Your contact info in AlertWR is only as good as the information you provide. 

If you are a hydro customer, your contact information from hydro is the number that hydro uses to connect with you. If you would like to receive notifications at another number or contact method (or you are not a hydro customer) you will need to subscribe and provide that additional contact information to Alert Waterloo Region.

Already subscribed and need to update your profile?

If you subscribed before May 1st, 2019 and would like to update your information please contact us at emergencymanagement@regionofwaterloo.ca

Is there a mobile app I can use?

Yes! Download the Everbridge Mobile App and use a number of its enhanced features! You can download the app through the Apple Store or Google Play.

The app can send push alerts based on your location. In order to receive these push notifications you will need to have location services turned on in your mobile phone settings.

You can find Alert Waterloo Region in the app by searching "Waterloo" in the organization field in the app. Sign in with the login information you created when signing up for the Alert Waterloo Region service.

How do I register if I do not have access to the internet?

You can sign up using free internet services available at your public libraries or you can request a paper form from your local municipal office, or print one here.

I've subscribed and created a profile for my information. What is the "My Subscriptions" section for in my profile?

When you subscribe and are logged in to your profile you will have an empty section called "My Subscriptions". This is an enhanced feature we will be offering to you soon. Your subscription will already send you alerts for the area of the address you have entered in your profile. The new feature will allow you to customize your subscription to additionally receive alerts from any other areas in Waterloo Region (not just the alerts directly affecting the address in your profile). 
How do I stop receiving notifications/opt out?

If you are a hydro customer within Waterloo Region, the primary phone number listed with your local hydro company will receive a phone call notification without having to sign up. When you receive a phone call notification you will be presented with the option to opt out of receiving any more calls in the future. Follow the prompts on the message to opt out.

If you have subscribed to the system using this website, you can opt out of receiving these important emergency notifications by logging in and deleting your account.

If you subscribed before May 1st, 2019 and would like to update your information please contact us at emergencymanagement@regionofwaterloo.ca.

How do I opt back in to receive notifications if I have already opted out?

Contacts who have opted out can resume receiving phone call notifications by calling one of the numbers provided below and following the prompts. Once the contact has opted back in to receiving messages, their phone number will be removed from the unsubscribe list.

To resume voice notifications call either of these numbers:

  • Global Direct Dial +1 626-486-9782
  • Toll-free: 1-800-830-3493

NOTE: The re-subscribe mechanism will detect the caller's ID and only allow to re-subscribe that number. To add additional contact methods (email, additional phone numbers etc.), you will need to subscribe online and create a personal profile. Re-subscribe is currently only available in the English language.

What if I don’t receive a notification?

Not all notifications will be sent to everyone if they do not affect the area around your registered address. When an emergency is affecting a specific area, the unaffected areas of the municipality may not be notified if it is not considered a threat to their safety.

Additionally, advanced notifications may not be possible for sporadic emergencies that come without warning. For example, some tornadoes form without accompanying severe weather. Another example is being unable to warn of a sudden explosion. However, in such cases, the system could provide notification of actions to take afterwards such as avoiding affected areas.

Disclaimer

When the emergency notification is activated, the system is intended to make several attempts to reach the registered numbers. Due to the emergency, phone systems including land line and cell service may be inundated with calls and your provider may not be able to deliver the message. We do not assume legal responsibility for technical difficulties that may result in notification failures, or for your failure to receive any emergency notification. In addition, we are not responsible if the contact information we have for you is outdated or inaccurate. We collect information for this system from a variety of sources, including companies providing hydro services within the Region.

Pre-paid wireless users

Pre-paid wireless users: if you are on a pre-paid cell phone plan you may need to adjust your phone settings to “allow messages from short code senders” to ensure your phone receives texts from the system.

How is AlertWR different from the national Alert Ready emergency alerting system?

A national service: Alert Ready is a national emergency alerting system. Alert Ready delivers emergency notifications to Canadians through television, radio and LTE-connected and compatible wireless devices. Notifications are administered at a national level and may not be specific to Waterloo Region.  In the event that an emergency occurs in Waterloo Region you may receive a message from both Alert Ready and AlertWR. You are encouraged to sign up for both systems.

A local service: AlertWR is a local service that allows subscribers and hydro customers in Waterloo Region to receive important public safety messages in the event of a local large scale emergency affecting Waterloo Region.

The service is able to deliver notifications to your preferred devices via telephone, cell phone, text message, and email.

Doesn’t my community already have a local emergency alerting system?
Woolwich has a Community Alert Network that can send messages via phone to registered citizens. The communities of Wilmot and North Dumfries are also partners in this network. AlertWR replaces the Community Alert Network.
How does this system affect the sirens in Woolwich?
Woolwich Township uses sirens to alert residents in addition to AlertWR. Woolwich residents can still expect to have siren notifications in emergencies. 

Contact(s)