Program Information & FAQ

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Click to Sign-up to the Notification system.The Winthrop Harbor Notification System is a no-charge program that is available to all residents, property owners and businesses with a street address within the Village. What follows are some frequently asked questions about the system and how it works;

What is the Blackboard Connect service?
Blackboard Connect is the service that allows authorized civic leaders to create and rapidly disseminate time-sensitive messages to every telephone number stored in the notification database. With this Notification System, authorized users can send thousands of messages in minutes. Only authorized officials are allowed access to the system for sending messages.

How does the service work?
Authorized officials compose and record a voice and text message. That message is then delivered to individual telephones, cell phones, and text-receiving devices in the notification database.

What types of messages will be sent using the service?
Any message regarding the safety or welfare of our community could be disseminated using the Notification System. Examples include hazardous traffic or road conditions, water boil orders, and any other situation that could impact the safety, property, or welfare of our citizens.

Does this Notification System replace other systems that have been used to provide time-sensitive information to residents?
This system is a significant enhancement to existing means of communication and is supplemental to, not a replacement for, the traditional systems you have used in the past (i.e. TV, Radio, Web site, etc.).

Is my telephone number included in the notification database?
It is our intention and hope that every residence and commercial facility in our community be included in the notification database. For businesses, we only store one main phone number. For residents, we may have more than one number that belongs to you in the database. Additionally, you may request to have a secondary number be entered into our database for priority calling.

May I use a cell phone as my notification database listing?
Yes, we can accept cell phones as secondary phone numbers in the database and encourage you to request that your number be included. As a Winthrop Harbor resident, you may
click here to add your cell phone number and/or e-mail address.

What precautions are being taken to protect personal information?
Blackboard Connect takes security and privacy concerns very seriously and does not sell, trade, lease or loan any data about our residents to any third party. From a technical perspective, they utilize multiple physical and virtual layers of firewalls to maintain data security. Blackboard Connect only utilizes secure transmissions with its systems. No confidential information is ever transmitted between Blackboard Connect and its customers using e-mail or FTP, but rather always utilizes either a VPN tunnel or SSL. Data is hosted in state-of-the-art facilities which require photo identification, thumb-print recognition, keyed access, and are manned 24/7 with full-security personnel. All data is encrypted prior to being placed on tape for offsite storage. Blackboard Connect also retains an external, independent security firm to perform annual security audits.

Will there be a way to identify incoming calls that are made by the village using the system?
The caller-ID number for Winthrop Harbor calls generated by the Notification System is (847)-872-2175. In addition, every message we send out will begin with the same standard announcement: "Hello, this is the Village of Winthrop Harbor calling with an important message." The message content will follow this standard introduction.

Will the Notification System work if I have a call screening system on my phone?
There are several varieties of call screening devices that use differing protocols for screening. In general, the system has been found to work with these devices; but some may require some type of pre-programming to allow our village's telephone number to pass through. (the number to allow is 847-872-2175). We may conduct periodic tests to assure that messages are being delivered to numbers in the notification database.

If I am a non-resident home or condominium owner, what phone should be listed in the notification database?
For non-residents or owners who reside out of our village, you may provide an additional phone number to be included in our database to contact during certain situations. In general, calls are sent to the primary number only, but we also have the ability to call multiple numbers for each resident or business when requested by the resident or business. You may add, edit or delete your telephone numbers and email addresses by using the links at the top of this page.

If I have provided more than one phone number, when will they be called?
Should a situation arise that requires us to contact you at multiple phone numbers, we can activate the system to place a simultaneous call to all of your numbers. In most cases, we will be sending calls only to one phone number (your primary number in the database).

My primary phone or my second listing is a cell phone with a non-local area code. Will the Blackboard Connect service call numbers outside the area?
Yes. The area code does not impact whether or not a call is made.

How does the Notification System respond to busy signals or no-answer situations?
For busy signals, the call will be repeated several times in an attempt to reach you. The same is true for No-answer and Call-waiting. If a message recorder answers the phone, our message will be left on the answering device. If, after several attempts the call does not successfully go through, the system will stop attempting to call.

I am receiving village notification calls at my fax or my secondary phone line. Can I switch to have the system call my primary phone number?
Yes. Use the Edit link at top of this page. .

I was not able to listen to the entire call. Is there a way to repeat the message?
Yes, at the end of the message playback, simply press the star (*) key on your telephone to have it repeated in its entirety.

I answer the phone but the "Hello" message repeats. It then hangs up,
calls back, and the same thing happens again. How can I hear the entire message?

Repeating or looping of messages happens when the system detects excessive noise in the background. Loud radio/television volumes, people talking, or busy traffic noise, can cause this. When you receive the next call, say "hello" once and turn down the volume of your radio/television or press the mute button on your telephone to allow full message delivery.

I do not have an answering machine and I see on my caller-ID that a Notification System call was attempted. How can I hear the message?
You may listen to any message that has been sent to your number by calling toll-free
877-Replay-1 (877-737-5291). Follow the prompts to listen to the latest message, or any previous message that has been received at your number.

I have one or more questions that were not answered here. Who should I call?
Please call Village Hall at (847) 872-3846 and we will be happy to answer your questions.

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