“The Telephone Emergency Notification System (TENS) is a technological tool in advanced warning systems,” 

states Big Bear Fire Chief Jeff Willis.


The Big Bear Fire Department encourages Mountain residents and homeowners to register their cell phone numbers and Voiceover Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones with San Bernardino County. 

The Telephone Emergency Notification System (TENS) uses listed and unlisted numbers in the region’s 9-1-1  database to alert residents of life-threatening emergencies and San Bernardino County updates this database every six months.  TENS is a proven success, and has placed hundreds of calls during wildfire and flood events since its creation in 2004. 

However, the 9-1-1  database only includes landline telephones, so other numbers must be registered.  If a resident wishes to receive an emergency alert text message on their cell phone or an emergency call on their IPhone, they must register the number in the system. 

San Bernardino County has provided a website for residents to sign-up for this feature.  

Go to: http://sbcounty.gov/sbcfire/TENS/TENSContact.Aspx  or you can access the site at www.bigbearfire.com  look under  Current Events.

TENS is only used in potentially life threatening incidents such as an evacuation during a wildfire or other public safety related information.  When the County deems it necessary to activate TENS, it will call the numbers in the 9-1-1 landline database in the affected area, and another separate alert will also go out via a text message to the cell phone of those residents who have signed up for these alerts.  In addition, a call will also be placed to any VoIP numbers that have been registered.  The TENS system is currently TTY and TDD capable, however residents who use these devices are encouraged to enter their numbers using this feature so that the County can ensure they receive a message appropriate for their device.

For the Big Bear Valley residents, “The TENS system is a technological tool in advanced warning systems,” states Fire Chief Jeff Willis.  “Since many households do not have landlines these days, this additional method will go further towards alerting residents and enhancing the overall safety of the Mountain Community members.”

Be prepared BEFORE disaster strikes!  The emergency service agencies utilize multiple ways to notify residents of impending danger, but residents should not wait for or rely exclusively on any single notification system.  If you are concerned about your safety and welfare, please evacuate.