A key part of emergency-preparedness is being aware of emergencies and natural disasters happening near you, including winter storms, flooding, earthquakes and, yes, even tornados in the Pacific Northwest.

Be in the know and stay informed as situations unfold by signing up for various real-time alerts that can help you take potentially life-saving actions.

Is your ‘go bag’ ready?

Here are several ways to get emergency alerts from federal, state and local authorities, including ones you may want to ensure are enabled on your devices.

Wireless Emergency Alerts

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are short emergency messages broadcast from cell towers to phones in locally targeted areas. Different types of WEA alerts include: Presidential, Imminent Threat, Public Safety and AMBER alerts.

These alerts look like texts, but have different tones to help distinguish the message. Check that your phone is not opted out of receiving alerts, typically found in the notification settings menu. You may not get an alert if a phone is set to airplane or do-not-disturb mode.

NOAA Weather Radio

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations that broadcast continuous, 24/7 weather information from the nearest National Weather Service office based on your physical location. Working with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Emergency Alert System, NWR broadcasts warnings as well as helpful information after an event, about hazards in your area.


These alerts broadcast over the radio; prices can vary depending on the model. Keep in mind that while many receivers have an alarm feature, some may not. A model with a battery backup is a good bet in case of power outages.

Emergency Alert System

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning commonly used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as weather and AMBER alerts, imminent threats and other information targeted locally. It also allows the U.S. president to address the nation within 10 minutes during a national emergency.

These alerts are sent through broadcasters, cable TV, wireless cable systems and satellite digital radio services.

Puget Sound-area alerts

Local counties offer their own regional alert systems from their emergency management departments to help residents stay informed about potential hazards and threats that impact your area.

Click on the links below and register for an alert, which can be received through text, email or phone alerts. Signup is free.

Seattle alertshttps://alert.seattle.gov/.

King County alertshttps://kingcounty.gov/depts/emergency-management/alert-king-county.aspx.

Pierce County alertshttps://www.co.pierce.wa.us/921/Pierce-County-ALERT.

Snohomish County alertshttps://snohomishcountywa.gov/620/Public-Alert-Resources.

Island County Emergency Alertshttps://public.alertsense.com/SignUp/?regionid=1137

Kitsap County alertshttps://public.alertsense.com/signup/?regionid=1316