FAQ: Citizens Emergency Alerting System PDF Print E-mail

Do I need to register my home line to be included in the Citizen's Emergency Alerting System database?
No, your home phone number is already listed in the database and does not need to be registered. Washington County's Citizen's Emergency Alerting System (CEAS) is for cell phone and VoIP registration only. Registering your cell phone will not replace or "overwrite" your home line. All efforts will be made to reach you at all of your contact numbers.

If I register my cell phone or VoIP number will that information remain confidential?
Yes, your information will be kept strictly confidential. It will only be used for emergency notification purposes. Under no circumstances will your information ever be sold or used for commercial purposes.

Does the system have the ability to send text and/or e-mail messages?
At this time Washington County's CEAS will not send out text or email messages. We expect to have this capability in 2010.

If I send you my information can you register for me?
Yes! You can download a registration form and send it by mail to:
Washington County, VA
Dept of Information Systems
205 Academy Dr
Abingdon, VA 24210

I am moving out of the County or would like to remove the information I submitted from the database.
To have your cell phone number removed from the CEAS database, please send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 276.525.1360. You will need to provide the following information: cell phone number, your name, and physical address associated with the registration.

Is online registration secure?
Yes, the sign up page is hosted on a secure server and all data submitted is encrypted.

Can I add more than one cell phone number per address?
Yes. Fill out the form again with up to five additional cell phone numbers.

What numbers will appear on caller ID?

What if my cell phone number changes?
If your cell phone number changes please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 276.525.1360. Provide your old cell phone number, your name and address. If you have a new cell phone number that you wish to register please provide the number and we will update our database.

Will I get charged for airtime on my cellular phone?
Yes, you will be charged the standard fee from your phone provider for receiving the emergency alerts. Washington County is not responsible for any charges that may be incurred as a result of receiving these alerts.

What kind of alerts will I receive from Washington County's CEAS?
The system will be used to deliver alerts when there is a threat to the public health or safety of Washington County residents. Examples of proper uses of the system include: evacuation notices, hazardous materials spills and severe weather. The system will NOT be used to deliver political announcements, provide information on community events, or notify residents of road closures (unless it will affect residents during an evacuation). Therefore, when you receive a CEAS message, it is important to listen carefully and follow all instructions provided with the alert. DO NOT CALL 911 to confirm whether the information is correct.

When the CEAS calls me, how will I know that the call is not a telemarketer?
The recorded message will start with, "This is the Washington County, Virginia Emergency Management Department with an important message."

What if I don't answer the phone or am not home?
The CEAS will recognize when a voicemail system has answered. Although it will begin the message immediately, it will repeat the message again to be sure that the message has also been recorded on your answering machine (assuming that your voicemail greeting is 30 seconds or less).

I have a question that is not covered in the FAQ.
Please email your question to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call Washington County Department of Information Systems at 276.525.1360.