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Community Emergency Notification System

 CENS

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is CENS?

CENS is the Community Emergency Notification System. The system is designed to rapidly notify an affected area of an emergency by sending a recorded message through the telephone system.

How does CENS work?

CENS uses the 911 database to extract phone numbers determined by the circle or area drawn on the CENS map. CENS launches a prerecorded message to the telephone numbers in the area defined.

Will CENS work with cell phones or VoIP phones?

Cell and VoIP phones are not part of the 911 database.  You now have the option to register your Cell or VoIP phone with the CENS system.  You will only receive CENS notifications based on the address you provide for your Cell and or VoIP phone.  Please click here to register your Cell or VoIP phone.

How will CENS appear on Caller ID?

Your caller ID will show "REVERSE911CALL" as the caller, with a (480) area code. The CENS system is based in the East Valley, which is why you will see the (480) area code.

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 CENS handle non-English speaking households and TTY devices?

The message is recorded at your local 911 call center. The dispatcher will record the message in the necessary languages. The system also 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 add or change information for a land line phone serviced by Qwest, Cox or other local phone companies will have the information updated within the 911 database.  Residents that self register their Cell or VoIP phones will need to update their address at the Self Registration Portal.

What will the CENS call tell me?

Each notification call will be different. 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 911 if I need more information?

No, 911 should only be called when you have an emergency.  The emergency notification recording will give you instructions to follow.

Who will use CENS?

The CENS Program is available to all law enforcement and fire agencies in the Maricopa Region. The Maricopa Region extends from Wickenburg to Apache Junction.

Additonal Questions?

Send us an email at: Reverse911@phoenix.gov and we will do our best to answer your questions promptly.