HEM Alert FAQs

Surge OC is a countywide strategy that will help prepare the Orange County health delivery system meet increased demand for medical care during a catastrophic disaster. It focuses on planning at a local level – bringing together a diverse group of health care providers to work with the Health Care Agency, Orange County cities and health care system to develop an integrated response system. This system will use strategies such as triage, transferring patients, discharging patients, standing up alternate care sites, and mobilizing local resources within the area to support service delivery until help arrives.

Preparedness Planning – Planning at a community level with diverse health care providers including hospitals, community clinics, long term care providers, skilled nursing facilities and specialty clinics such as dialysis and surgical centers

Information Sharing – Developing timely and effective communication between diverse partners; Utilizing tools that would assist in communication and delineate the notification/communication process.

Resource Management - Maintaining an effective resource management system; Identifying the needs of the community and strategically pre-positioning resources in the community.

Staffing and Training – Identifying and growing the specialized workforce needed for health system response.

AlertOC is Orange County’s regional public mass notification system designed to keep those who live or work in Orange County informed of important information during emergency events. The system is sponsored and led by the County of Orange in partnership with many Orange County cities.

Public mass notification systems have become a critical component of emergency preparation and response.

  • Residents prepare to be notified of emergencies by providing their landline phones, cell phones and e-mail addresses.
  • Public safety officials respond by using the system to rapidly send out messages when there is a perceived, upcoming or imminent situation that may require community action.

Based on the severity of the event, AlertOC may be used to contact residents by one or all of the following methods: home phone, work phone, cell phone, e-mail, text message. Mass notification systems have been attributed with saving lives during the 2007 Southern California wildfires by quickly notifying residents of evacuation instructions at all hours.

The legal authority (County or City) responsible for announcing emergency notifications depends on the nature and scale of the incident. With the AlertOC partnership between the County and Cities, residents and businesses only need to provide their contact information once to receive emergency messages from either the County or City in which they live or work.

  1. AlertOC has significant capacity to send large volumes of messages through phone, e-mail and text communication channels.
  2. When there is an emergency event requiring community action, authorized officials record a voice, e-mail or text message that is then delivered quickly to individuals affected by the event.
    • Example: a wildfire event triggers an evacuation notice.
  3. Officials will use the system to keep affected communities informed of event information as necessary.
    • Example: evacuation call-off notice.
  4. The System uses the 911 emergency databases to contact Orange County households.
  5. Since there are many instances when the public may not be at home to receive an emergency message, public safety officials feel it is critical that all residents and businesses provide additional contact channels by registering voluntary cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses and text numbers through the AlertOC self-subscription web portal.