Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Connect-CTY service?
The Connect-CTY service allows authorized city personnel to create and rapidly disseminate time-sensitive messages to every telephone number stored in the notification database. With the Connect-CTY service, authorized users can send thousands of messages in minutes. Only authorized officials are allowed access to the system.
How does the service work?
Authorized officials record a voice message that is then delivered quickly to individual phones in the notification database.
What types of messages will be sent using the service?
Any message regarding the safety or welfare of our community would be disseminated using the Connect-CTY service.
Examples would include severe weather warnings and updates, hazardous traffic or road conditions inside the city or affecting local routes, and any other situation that could impact the safety, property, or welfare of our citizens.
Does the Connect-CTY service 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 systems we have used in the past.
The call-in emergency information line (979) 345-5121 will still be available. Also, TV, the City's cable channel, and our city web site will continue to broadcast important announcements.
Is my telephone number included in the notification database?
It is our intention and hope that every residence and business 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. To provide contact information, please visit the City’s website at www.westcolumbiatx.org or the Police Department's website at: www.westcolumbiapolice.org.
May I use a cell phone as my notification database listing?
Yes, we can accept cell phones in the database and encourage you to request that your number be included.
What precautions are being taken to protect personal information?
Connect-CTY® is a service of The NTI Group, Inc. (NTI). NTI takes security and privacy concerns very seriously and does not sell, trade, lease or loan any data about our clients to any third party. From a technical perspective, we utilize multiple physical and virtual layers of firewalls to maintain data security. NTI only utilizes secure transmissions with its customers. No confidential information is ever transmitted between NTI 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. NTI also retains an external, independent security firm to perform annual security audits.
Will there be a way to positively identify incoming calls which are made by the city using the system?
The caller-ID number for calls generated by the Connect-CTY service will be: (979) 345-3123. In addition, every message will begin with the same standard announcement: “Hello, this is ______ calling with an important message from the City of West Columbia.” The message content will follow this standard introduction.
Will the Connect-CTY service work if I have a call screening system on my phone?
There are several varieties of call screening devices which 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 city’s telephone number to pass through. 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 outside of our city, you may provide additional phone numbers 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. Please contact our police department at (979) 345-5121 or visit the city web site www.westcolumbiatx.org to provide us with that information.
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.
My primary phone or my second listing is a cell phone with a non-local area code. Will the Connect-CTY service call numbers outside the area?
Yes. The area code does not impact whether or not a call is made.
How does the Connect-CTY 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 the phone is answered by a message recorder, the 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 city notification calls at my fax or my secondary phone line. Can I switch to have the system call my primary phone number?
Yes. Please contact our police department at (979) 345-5121 or visit the city web site www.westcolumbiatx.org to change the phone number in our notification database.
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. This can be caused by loud radio/television volumes, people talking, or busy traffic noise. 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.