How to Get Emergency Alerts on Your Phone

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There are many dangers in our world, from severe storms such as tornadoes and hurricanes to the possibility of terrorist attacks. In order to be prepared, you should always keep a radio or television nearby so you can be notified by the Emergency Alert System, which is operated by the federal government. Most cities have warning sirens as well.


But what if it is the middle of the night, or you simply aren't in a place where you have access to a radio or TV? It is easy to be caught unprepared, so it's recommended you have something that will alert you in times of emergency.


You can receive emergency alerts on your home phone, cell phone or other mobile device. There are several ways to set this up, which are best done before an emergency arises.

Things You'll Need

  • Your phone number(s) and email address(es)

Receiving Emergency Alerts On Your Phone

  • Decide on what phone or phones you wish to receive emergency alerts. You can receive them from some sources as text messages or emails, and from others you can receive phone calls, which will work for all types of phones. Also, decide what types of alerts you want to receive. Possible types of alerts include severe weather such as tornado warnings, oil and gas spills in your area, Homeland Security alerts and more.

  • Next, visit your city's website, if it has one. Many cities offer a free service that will send alerts to its citizens as needed. One provider of such services is Code Red. You can call Code Red to ask if your city subscribes to its service, or call your local city's Director of Emergency Management and ask the director to offer this service.

  • If your city does not offer this service, you can subscribe for free to The Emergency Email & Wireless Network. This free public service offers weather, Homeland Security, news, health and finance emergency alerts sent via email. If desired, you can use your cell phone provider's text messaging email address, which will have the message sent to your phone via SMS text. Check with your provider for instructions on how to send emails as text messages to your phone.

  • Check your local television station. Some offer a service for a inexpensive fee that will call up to three numbers in the event of a local weather emergency. It will give you a voice message telling what the emergency is and what action, if any, you should take. You can contact WeatherCall to see if the service is available in your area. See resources below.

  • Search the internet using terms such as "emergency alerts SMS" or "emergency alert phone email," and you will find other services. Investigate them, and try the free ones to see which one is right for you. If none of the free services meets your needs, one of the pay services might.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be careful about setting up alerts because you might not want to receive a "wind warning" alert at 2 a.m., unless you are on a boat, for example.
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