Alert & Warning Notifications


Local Opt-in Alerts
for Floods, Wildfires, more


Wireless Emergency Alerts
(Earthquake Early Warning)

Verified Emergency
Management News Sources

Tsunami Alerts

Earthquake Preparedness

ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning system live as of May 4

On Tuesday, May 4, 2021, the ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning system went live in Washington, completing the West Coast rollout of the new technology, which is capable of giving residents and visitors seconds of warning before earthquake shaking arrives.

(Recibir una Alerta en español: https://mil.wa.gov/preparese )

ShakeAlert® is not earthquake prediction. The alert system detects earthquakes that have already begun, rapidly estimates the shaking they will create, then sends an alert to areas which will receive shaking.

To receive these alerts, we are asking you to check if your alerts are turned on by clicking here.

ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning Webinar Information

Catch up on our April 29 Webinar by watching it on YouTube here. The webinar is also available on TVW.

Wireless Emergency Alerts and ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning

There are two ways you can receive alerts on your mobile phone if shaking from an earthquake is expected at your location: through the Wireless Emergency Alert system and your phone’s built-in software.

The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) is a system that broadcasts public safety messages (like AMBER Alerts or Tsunami Alerts) over the commercial cellular system. Customers with compatible mobile phones can receive geographically targeted, text-like messages alerting them to threats to safety in their area. All WEA alerts, regardless of type, behave the same. The device makes a distinctive notification sound and vibration and the message pops up in a text window on the screen.

If shaking from an earthquake is expected at your location, the Wireless Emergency Alert message will say:

  • English: Earthquake Detected! Drop, Cover, Hold On. Protect Yourself. -USGS ShakeAlert
  • Spanish: Terremoto detectado! Agachese, cubrase, sujetese. Protejase. -USGS ShakeAlert

HOW TO GET ALERTS ON APPLE IPHONES:

To check if Wireless Emergency Alerts are turned on for Apple iPhones, you will need to do the following:

  • Tap “Settings” > “Notifications”
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen.
  • Under “Government Alerts” tap “Emergency Alerts” and “Public Safety Alerts” to turn them on or off. Some iPhones have the ability to say "Always Deliver" or to turn this off. You will want to make sure the setting stays on "Always Deliver." 
    • If emergency alerts are turned on, the circle will be on the right-hand side of the switch. You will get WEAs on your iPhone and no further action is needed.
    • If emergency alerts are turned off, the circle will be on the left-hand side of the switch. You will need to tap the switch to put it in the “on” position. You will now get WEAs on your iPhone and no further action is needed. 
  • Please see a video demonstrating this on an iPhone.

HOW TO GET ALERTS ON ANDROID PHONES:

To check if Wireless Emergency Alerts are turned on for Android Phones, you will need to do the following:

  • We recommend that you use the search function in “Settings” to find “Emergency Alerts” or “Public safety messages." You may have to click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, click settings and click alert types.
  • If you can’t find “Emergency Alerts” by searching in “Settings,” try searching for “Emergency Alerts” in the text message app, instead. You may have to click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, click settings and click alert types.
  • Make sure all alerts are turned on (i.e. “Extreme threats," “Severe threats,” and “Public safety messages”).
    • If alerts are turned on, the circle will be on the right-hand side of the switch. You will get WEAs on your Android phone and no further action is needed.
    • If alerts are turned off, the circle will be on the left-hand side of the switch. You will need to tap the switch to put it in the “on” position. You will now get WEAs on your Android phone and no further action is needed.
  • As examples, please see a video demonstrating this on an Android Phone (Galaxy S9) and this video for an S21.
  • Instructions may vary depending on your mobile phone carrier and/or mobile phone manufacturer. For additional questions, please refer to your mobile phone carrier and/or mobile phone manufacturer’s website for additional information.

For Wireless Emergency Alerts, the system is set for earthquakes 5.0 and above and shaking that would cause dishes and windows to rattle. For the Android built-in system, phones would get an alert for a 4.5 and above. See the current ShakeAlert threshold for magnitude and intensity here.

Android Phone users can also receive alerts through their phone’s built-in software (No apps required).Android says this setting is being rolled out in Washington in the days after the May 5 Launch of ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning. Check if this setting is turned on for your Android Phone by doing the following:

  • Make sure that your location settings are turned on AND that Earthquake Alerts are turned on. Go to Settings --> Location --> Advanced (on most devices) --> Earthquake.
  • Looking for more directions?
    • This video has a guide for older phones. (It has NO sound).
    • This video has a guide for newer phones. (It has NO sound).
    • This video has some additional tips if you're still looking for the settings. (It has NO sound).
  • For additional information about ShakeAlert and Google, please visit this website.
  • See a video demonstrating the Earthquake Alerts on Android.
  • Watch Google's April 29 Webinar presentation here.

The Android alert triggers at 4.5 magnitude earthquakes and greater. See the current ShakeAlert threshold for magnitude and intensity here.

HOW TO GET ALERTS ON OTHER PHONE TYPES

To check if Wireless Emergency Alerts are turned on for other phone types (not Apple iPhones or Android Phones), please contact your mobile phone carrier and/or mobile phone’s manufacture's website for additional information. If you already get AMBER Alerts, you may get these alerts, too. But it's not guaranteed because phones use different settings. Ask about emergency alerts or public safety alerts. 

Downloading an app isn’t required for the ShakeAlert® system and at this time, there are no downloadable ShakeAlert® public alerting apps in Washington state. Users should take caution before downloading apps they are unfamiliar with and check to make sure ShakeAlert® License to Operate Partners actually have products available in Washington state.

For additional information regarding ShakeAlert and WEA, please visit their website on ShakeAlert®

If you have any questions, please email us at public.education@mil.wa.gov

Learn more about how the earthquake early warning system works and how to protect yourself before, during and after an earthquake by clicking here or a learn more about tsunamis by clicking here.


Local "OPT IN" emergency alerts

Find your local region and click the applicable hyperlink. Follow the directions to opt into getting notices on your phone via email and text. These are alerts you would likely NOT receive unless you choose to do so. This is different than a Wireless Emergency Alert or the ShakeAlert system. For instance, you may be notified about road closures, evacuations, wildfires, storms and floods.


    Tsunami Alerts

    The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center issues tsunami information for the continental U.S. and Canada. They have a Twitter account where they post official notices at https://twitter.com/NWS_NTWC. To receive notifications when a tweet from @NWS_NTWC is sent, you must choose to be notified within the Twitter app on your mobile device and/or through the twitter.com website. For instructions on how to set up tweet notifications (also known as “push” notifications) to your device, check out this help menu.

    The Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems provides the NVS Tsunami Evacuation App, available to download for free in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. The NVS Tsunami Evacuation App provides an at-a-glance view of where the tsunami hazard zones are along the Oregon and Washington coast, and allows you to map whether your home, work, school, etc. is located in a tsunami evacuation zone or not. To help you develop and plan your own evacuation routes, the Tsunami Evacuation App enables you to save your current position or points of interest via GPS or address look-up. It also pushes tsunami alert notifications directly to your phone.

    NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR is an "All Hazards" radio network, making it your single source for comprehensive weather and emergency information. In conjunction with Federal, State, and Local Emergency Managers and other public officials, NWR also broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards – including tsunamis. To learn more about purchasing a NOAA Weather Radio receiver, check out the National Weather Service here.

    The United States’ National Weather Service provides InteractiveNWS (iNWS), an application suite able to send NWS products to local partners in multiple ways, including as emails and texts. Visit https://inws.ncep.noaa.gov/ to learn more or to sign up for the service. Once your registration has been accepted you can go onto the site and set up text alerts by county/parish, lat/long, or street address. You can also draw a polygon on the map provided to set up a custom alerting area.

    For more on Tsunami maps, visit our website here.


    Volcano Notification Service

    To subscribe to receive Volcano Alerts directly from USGS, you can subscribe to the Volcano Notification Service.

    Washington’s five volcanoes (Mt. Baker, Glacier Peak, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams) are all active volcanoes, with the potential to erupt again in our lifetimes. All five are closely monitored by the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) and additional monitoring equipment is constantly being installed. Magma moving up through the crust as a volcano prepares for an eruption is called volcanic unrest and can be detected by USGS CVO’s instruments. If they believe this unrest is a sign of a potential eruption, USGS scientists will change the Volcano Alert Level. Even though small earthquakes are common at many of our volcanoes, a long history of monitoring these volcanoes shows that this is Normal or background-level activity, not something that indicates an eruption is imminent.

    For more on volcano hazards, visit our website here.


    Emergency Management News Sources

    Washington Emergency Management Division maintains a Facebook Page, a Nextdoor Account and a Twitter Account. For local information, consult with local sheriff and county emergency management services.

    Federal sources


    For more information on Washington State emergency notification plans, visit https://mil.wa.gov/plans. For more information on the EAS plan, visit https://mil.wa.gov/emergency-alert-system-eas-state-plan