Alert & Warning Notifications

A person holds a cell phone. The text alert says earthquake detectived! drop, cover, hold on. protect yourself.

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. For instance, you may be notified about road closures, evacuations, wildfires, storms and floods.

    Wireless Emergency Alerts

    The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) is a system that broadcasts public safety messages over the commercial cellular system. Customers with compatible smartphones 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.

    ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System coming to Washington May 2021

    In May of 2021, the ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) system will be launched in Washington for public testing on mobile phones via Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and third party applications. The Feb. 25 joint demonstration between the Washington Emergency Management Division and
    the U.S. Geological Survey was an example of how you may receive a ShakeAlert Message on your mobile phone if shaking from an earthquake is expected in your area.

    ShakeAlert® may potentially provide people seconds to protect themselves (i.e. Drop, Cover, and Hold On) to reduce the likelihood of objects falling on them or falling down when moving which causes the majority of injuries in earthquakes.

    Starting in May of 2021 in Washington, there will be multiple ways you may receive a ShakeAlert Message on your mobile phone. Some ways may require you to take specific action:

    if you feel shaking or get an alert, drop, cover and hodl on. the text says showing people taking those actions. ShakeAlert. Because seconds matter, the headline states.

    Check that Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are turned on.

    Mobile phones that have WEAs turned on are able to receive ShakeAlert Messages starting in May of 2021. While, this setting may already be turned on in your settings on your mobile phone, please take the time to check.

    To check if this setting is 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.
    • If emergency alerts are turned on, the circle will be on the right-hand side of the switch. 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. 
    • Please see a video demonstrating this on an iPhone

    To turn on this setting on newer Android Phones, the exact location of the options to turn on Emergency Alerts may vary:

    • We recommend that you use the search function in “Settings” to find “Emergency Alerts” or “public safety messages."
    • If you can’t find “Emergency Alerts” by searching “settings” it may be within your Messaging app, instead.
    • 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. 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
    • Please refer to your mobile phone carrier and/or mobile phone manufacturer’s website for additional information.

    All WEAs, regardless of type, behave the same. The mobile phone makes a distinctive notification sound and the message pops up in a text window on the screen. Some mobile phones with text-to-voice capability may read out the message text.

    When you receive a real alert, the message will say:

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

    If you have any questions, please email us at

    Learn more about how to protect yourself before, during and after:

    Click here to learn more about ShakeAlert and WEA.

    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 You can follow their account on Twitter. 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 website. For instructions on how to set up tweet notifications (also known as “push” notifications) to your device, check out this help menu.

    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 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.

    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. 

    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 For more information on the EAS plan, visit