Frequently Asked Questions about the NorthShoreAlert® service:


What is the NorthShoreAlert service?


The NorthShoreAlert service allows authorized civic leaders to create and rapidly disseminate time-sensitive messages to every telephone number stored in the notification database. With the NorthShoreAlert 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 could be disseminated using the NorthShoreAlert service.

Examples would include severe weather warnings and updates, hazardous traffic or road conditions inside the town or affecting local routes, and any other situation that could impact the safety, property, or welfare of our citizens.   It can also be used for non-emergency communiqués as well.

Does the NorthShoreAlert 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.

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.

What precautions are being taken to protect personal information? 


The service providers take security and privacy concerns very seriously and do not sell, trade, lease or loan any data about our clients to any third party. From a technical perspective, they utilize multiple physical and virtual layers of firewalls to maintain data security and only utilizes secure transmissions with its customers. 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.

Will there be a way to positively identify incoming calls which are made by the town using the system? 


The caller-ID number for calls generated by the NorthShoreAlert service will be the same as from the municipality or special district sending it.  In addition, every message will begin with the same standard announcement.  As an example, “Hello, this is Chief/Mayor _______ calling with an important message from the ________ Village/Dept”. The message content will follow this standard introduction.

Will the NorthShoreAlert 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 town’s telephone number to pass through. We may conduct periodic test to assure that messages are being delivered to numbers in the notification database.

If I am a non-resident home or apartment owner, what phone should be listed in the notification database? 


For non-residents or owners who reside out of our area, 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 can use the web portal at to add that info.

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 NorthShoreAlert service call numbers outside the area? 


Yes. The area code does not impact whether or not a call is made as long as it is domestic United States.

How does the NorthShoreAlert 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 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 your village or the town to change the phone number in our notification database.  Please be clear in what you wish deleted.

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.

Disclaimer:  The NorthShoreAlert system is not a substitute for other methods of being notified and civic leaders cannot assure you that all phone numbers have been included, cannot assure you that there are not errors in the database, nor assure that messages will be sent or delivered.

NorthShoreAlert  April 7, 2020


We are (probably) in or close to the peak period of this Covid19 virus.

The PWM OEM has been active, through your donations and its own purchases, in supporting OUR local ambulance, fire, police, and hospitals.

While your efforts so far have been strong in supporting these needs, we are still at peak shortage for N95 masks, isolation gowns, disposable gowns, and face shields.

If you have any of the above, in excess of your own needs, please contact us at


That is all for now and thank you,

Peter Forman


Port Washington-Manhasset Office of Emergency Management


NorthShoreAlert  April 3, 2020

clarifying message


A number of recipients misunderstood one sentence from this morning's message to the community.

To clarify:  CDC guidelines are for PERSONS WITH COVID19 to "remain at home, except for medical care. And to not visit public areas."

As such, people who are not diagnosed and who are asymptomatic may walk on low-traffic streets and parks (where permitted), and go to food stores and pharmacies--but must refrain from interpersonal contact with those outside their household.

Peter Forman, Commissioner

Port Washington-Manhasset Office of Emergency Management


NorthShoreAlert  April 3, 2020

PW/Manhasset--legal obligations re Covid19

This is Peter Forman, Commissioner of the Port Washington-Manhasset Office of Emergency Management with an important update at the request of our local police, fire, and ambulance services:

- Firstly, even if you think you have Covid19, please don't call 911 or visit the hospital for non-emergencies. Please contact your physician or hospital by phone first.  911, ambulances, and hospitals are overwhelmed. As an example, difficulty breathing would be an emergency.


- Next: If you do need to request assistance from first responders, you have a legal obligation to alert them if you or members of your circle have Covid19 symptoms or diagnosis, so they can take precautions.   Also, falsely CLAIMING to have symptoms in order to obtain services is illegal.


- Not only are violations unfair to others and our obligations to society-at-large, but according to prosecutors we have spoken with, these behaviors could be criminally prosecuted as Reckless Endangerment.

- Next: Although the following guidance may seem self-evident, there have been reports of persons diagnosed with Covid19 socializing on the public ways of our community.  Therefore...


- CDC guidelines are explicit:  "Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas."


- If you know of anyone violating the preceding guidelines, please urge them to comply.

- Lastly, if you do not receive these updates by email or text, you should sign at as not all messages are sent by voice.


- Please remember, as a community, we can do our part to shorten the quarantine!


Thank you and that is all for now.


Peter Forman
Port Washington-Manhasset Office of Emergency Management.


NorthShoreAlert  March 30,2020

Request for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for our first responders and staffers.

Residents & Businesses--

There is an immediate need for:

  • Sanitary disinfecting wipes

  • Face shields (disposable or reusable)

  • Disposable gowns

  • N95 masks

In the  coming weeks, there will be a need for:

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Hand sanitizing dispensers

  • XL and M nitrile gloves

If you can offer any of the above, please contact us at with your phone number so we can arrange for collection.

Peter Forman



NorthShoreAlert March 18, 2020

Coronavirus: A Port Washington-Manhasset Oriented Advisory


Dear Residents,


As Commissioner of the Port Washington-Manhasset Office of Emergency Management, I and the other members of the PWM OEM are reaching out to share answers to questions we are actively getting and to offer a somewhat more local perspective on the coronavirus outbreak.  


Q: Should I be concerned and is it coming to our area?

A: You should be concerned but we don't believe you should be scared.

There have been only 76 diagnosed cases in our country of 330 million residents.  That is the equivalent of 1 in every 4.3 million Americans. While a lot is still being learned about this very new virus each day and while it will likely spread further in the country, there are some basic steps, outlined below, to reduce risk to yourself, your family, and to others.


Q: Are the local police, fire, ambulance, and hospitals ready?

A: We have met and/or spoken with Nassau County PD, Port Washington PD, Sands Point PD, Port Washington Fire, Manhasset-Lakeville Fire, and Plandome Fire, among others, and it is clear that they are increasingly ready for their role in any local outbreak.

  • When contacting first responders or a hospital emergency department, increasingly you will be asked about travel and any specific Covid19-related symptoms.

  • We have spoken with both St Francis and Northwell hospitals.  Both are already doing extensive planning to handle increased patient loads with isolation requirements.

  • Rest assured that first responders, the medical community, and the emergency management communities are acutely focused on these issues and are deep in preparatory mode.


Q:  What is the difference between coronavirus, Covid-19, and SARS-CoV-2?

A:  The virus itself has been named “SARS-CoV-2” but the disease it causes has been named Covid-19, which comes from “CoronaVirus Disease 2019”.

Coronavirus is the family of viruses to which it and SARS and MERS (from past years) belong.


Q: When will it peak?

A: The opinions we have heard are that it will peak over the next 2-3 months and decline into the summer months.


Q: Who is most affected by Coronavirus?

A: People who are immuno-compromised or who have other major health issues are at greater risk. Also, the older you are the greater the risk.


Q: How does age impact vulnerability?

A: According to available data from a very recent study of 44,000 cases in China:

  • Less than 1% were children aged 9 and no deaths were reported.

  • Only 1.2% were children 10-19 years old and only 1 death was reported.

  • By contrast, 20% of the people who were 80 years and older died.

  • The median age of patients was between 49 and 56 years. 

  • Important footnote: Although not yet clear, it seems that the younger populations are often contracting the disease, but the symptoms are milder making diagnosis less likely.   Also, it isn't known if these younger populations are silent carriers who might actually be spreading it.  


Q: What can I do to prevent getting this virus?

A: There are a number of basic things you can do to reduce risk to yourself and others:

  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds to be effective.

  • If soap and water isn’t available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

  • Try not to touch your eyes, mouth, and nose before sanitizing.

  • If you are sick, especially with fever, cough, and shortness of breath, isolate yourself and contact your doctor and take care not to infect others with your cough or cold.

  • If you are diagnosed, tell others who may have been exposed.

  • Note, it is believed this virus has as long as a 2 to 14-day incubation period without symptoms.

  • There is no vaccine at this time.


Q: Will masks help?

A: According to the many doctors we have spoken to, masks are not recommended for the otherwise healthy general public for a few reasons:

  • Many masks add little value and need to be fitted to work.

  • Viruses are so small they pass through most masks and no mask is 100% effective.

  • There is a shortage of masks for health care professionals who have to be masked and for people who are actually sick to reduce the risk of their spreading it.


Q: Will there be “disruptions” to work and schools?

A: While this has happened already in other countries, it isn't clear if or when this could happen here. Nevertheless, some planning is in order.  You might wish to consider some of the following:

  • Who will care for the others that are dependent on you if you were to get sick?

  • Or conversely, who will care for you if the person upon whom you are dependent becomes ill?

  • If schools are temporarily closed, who will take care of school-aged children at home?

  • How will your business operate?  Do you have systems in place to accommodate some level of work-from-home computing?

  • Begin to think these issues through.


Q: How can i get updates from PWMOEM?

A: We will reach out as needed with additional information.  Please pass this briefing on to others and encourage them to sign up, no charge, at for additional info.  If we don’t have your email and text number you will NOT receive these and other key communiques. If you still have trouble signing up or wish to add others, you can email to


That is all for now.


Peter Forman


Port Washington-Manhasset Office of Emergency Management


Note: Information re coronavirus is very fluid at the moment. The info we have shared in this briefing is believed to be correct. When something is an opinion, we have tried to make that clear.

PWM OEM l 130 Shore Rd Suite 124 l Port Washington, NY 11050
Tel: (516) 883-0000 l email:
Copyright ® 2013 Port Washington-Manhasset Office of Emergency Management

Copyright © 2017 Port Washington Office of Emergency Management

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