Emergency Notification System FAQ

What is the Berkeley County Emergency Notification System?

How does BCENS work?

Will BCENS work with cell phones or VoIP phones?

How will BCENS appear on Caller ID?

How does the system work with answering machines or voice mail?

How does BCENS handle TTY devices?

What if the phone is busy when the system calls?

What happens if a resident moves or a new phone is installed?

What will a BCENS call tell me?

Should I call 9-1-1 if I need more information?

Who will provide information using BCENS?


By registering your contact information, you are automatically subscribed to all “emergency notifications” in your area.  On the SRP, you will also have the option to receive notifications for other alerts such as weather announcements and public service announcements.

If you have a landline telephone at your residence, we already have that information in our 911 Database.  It is not necessary for you to utilize the Self Registration Portal unless you have additional means of contact such as a wireless/cell phone or email you wish to register.  You may update your information at any time by logging in to the Self Registration Portal site.  You may unsubscribe at any time by logging in to the Self Registration Portal site and following the instructions to unsubscribe.  You understand that once you have unsubscribed, you will no longer receive emergency and/or other alerts.  You may re-register on the Self Registration Portal site at any time.

Please read our terms and conditions carefully before using our website.  By clicking “I agree”, you agree to be personally bound by these terms and conditions.

What is the Berkeley County Emergency Notification System?

The Berkeley County Emergency Notification System (BCENS) is an Emergency Notification System designed to rapidly notify an affected area of an emergency by sending a recorded message through the telephone system.

How does BCENS work?

Individuals submit phone numbers and e-mail addresses to the BCENS. The system then extracts the contact information determined by a circle or area drawn on the BCENS map. The system then launches a prerecorded message by calling, emailing or sending a text message to those contacts that fall within the defined area (based on the address used when signing up).

Will BCENS work with cell phones or VoIP phones?

Yes - you can register your cell or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone with the BCENS. You will only receive BCENS notifications based on the address you provide for your cell and/or VoIP phone.

How will BCENS appear on Caller ID?

Your caller ID will show “Berkeley County”

How does the system work with answering machines or voice mail?

The system is designed to leave a message on voice mail or an answering machine.

How does BCENS handle TTY devices?

The system has TTY capability for the hearing impaired. There is TTY detection equipment that will bypass the voice-recorded portion when a TTY or TDD is detected.

What if the phone is busy when the system calls?

The system is designed to call back if the line is busy or if there is no answer. The system will wait five minutes before a second callback is made.

What happens if a resident moves or a new phone is installed?

Residents that self register their telephone number(s) will need to update their address at the BCENS Self Registration Portal.

What will a BCENS call tell me?

Each notification call will be different depending on the incident. The primary agency handling the emergency will make the recording you will hear. It is important to follow the instructions on the recording.

Should I call 9-1-1 if I need more information?

No, 9-1-1 should only be called when you have an emergency. The emergency notification recording will give you instructions to follow.

Who will provide information using BCENS?

The BCENS service is available to all emergency management, Law enforcement and fire agencies in Berkeley County.