Island County is able to send you emergency alerts via text message, email, pager, or voice mail (in extreme cases), based on your preferences. It is important that we collect this contact information because many households no longer utilize traditional land-based telephone lines (Click here to view the Public Registration flyer).
The system is intended to be used for emergency alerts, as well as non-emergency incidents that may have significant impacts to residents. Emergency Alerts could be related to specific hazards that require some kind of action be taken such as evacuation, shelter in place, boil water orders, etc. Non-emergency alerts could include significant transportation problems with prolonged impacts or significant ongoing police or fire activity. This list is not meant to be all inclusive, and demonstrates that this system will not be used for routine information. In addition to receiving information on your wireless device, you may also receive notification on your land telephone line (if you have one) depending on the type of incident or event. You can sign up by following the following link:
Island County AlertSense Sign-up
There is also a mobile app, myAlerts, powered by AlertSense, the county's emergency alerting service. Our residents and visitors can now receive life-saving emergency alerts and advanced warning of severe weather directly on their Android or Apple iOS phone or tablet (Click here to view the AlertSense Mobile App flyer).
Washington residents and visitors now have an additional way to receive seconds of warning before earthquake shaking arrives, giving them time to drop, cover and hold on to protect themselves.
Designed by the University of California, Berkeley seismologists and engineers, the MyShake App is now available for FREE to download to IOS users through the Apple App Store and through GooglePlay for Android phones.
"Getting seconds of warning before an earthquake strikes may not sound like much, but it is plenty of time to drop, cover and hold on to protect yourself," said Maximilian Dixon, the geologic hazards supervisor for the Washington Emergency Management Division. "Practicing how to drop, cover and hold on as soon as you get an alert, or feel earthquake shaking, will help you to do it even faster. I'd like to thank Cal OES for their amazing partnership and providing this service for free to our residents and visitors."
The app as well as Android's built-in system will deliver alerts to people for earthquakes exceeding magnitude 4.5 which will cause light to strong shaking in their area. As a comparison, the WEA system is expected to send alerts for earthquakes larger than a 5.0 which cause moderate to strong shaking.
Most recently, the Earthquake Early Warning system provided warning to about half a million phones, for a magnitude 6.2 earthquake near Petrolia, California on Dec. 20.
The ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning system, run by the U.S. Geological Survey in partnership with the Universities of Washington, Oregon, California-Berkeley and Caltech, uses ground motion sensors in all three states to detect earthquakes that have occurred and automatically notifies residents and visitors so that they can "drop, cover and hold on" in advance of ground shaking. The Earthquake Early Warning system has been activated in Washington state providing public alerts to mobile phones since its rollout on May 4, 2021.
AHAB Siren Locations:
Shake Alert is now live! To receive shake alert warnings on your phone, simply go to your phone settings > notifications > advanced settings > then make sure all of your notifications are on.
For more information go to: Washington Emergency Management
Severe Weather Alerts
Receive advanced warning of severe weather when you or one of your locations is in the direct path of the storm. AlertSense receives feeds from the National Weather Service, automatically interprets the geographic area affected, and delivers targeted alerts immediately to app users when one of their locations falls within the impact area. You can tailor your alert settings by location, selecting the severity level for which you want to receive notifications. For example, you can choose to receive only the most severe weather warnings or all watches and advisories as well.
Public Safety Alerts Receive emergency alerts from public safety alerting authorities, notifying you of situations that threaten the safety of yourself or those you care about. Public safety alerts include events such as crime, active shooter, imminent danger, hazardous materials, wildfire, floods and the need for immediate evacuation.
Community Notifications You can also choose to receive notifications of events in your community that, while not life-threatening emergencies, still impact your daily life and commute, such as road closures and power outages.
Simply add all the locations that matter to you, both within the county and even in other parts of the country. For example, you could identify your home, your child's school, where your aging parent resides, the university where your older child attends, and your office. When you travel, you can enable the app to "monitor my current location" in order to receive any emergency alerts issued for the city or area you are visiting.
You can download the free
myAlerts app today from the Google Play Store or the App Store.
For a major event, Island County DEM will send alerts through the Emergency Alert System. This message goes to all of the media outlets throughout the region as well as the National Weather Service. The geographic locations are determined by Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) codes. At a minimum, I will typically send it to all counties in the Central and Northern Puget Sound region. The radio and television stations will then immediately broadcast the alert across their respective outlets. It will also broadcast on NOAA Weather radios. There are two radio stations licensed to Oak Harbor, WA.
These are not the only stations that broadcast Island County emergency alerts. The alerts go to all stations in the region.
As with the Radio Stations, Island County DEM Emergency Alerts are sent to the regions television stations as well. Like the radio stations, broadcast engineers are required to listen for EAS Alerts based on the FIPS codes entered. When the alerts go to the Central Puget Sound Region it includes:
Island County DEM utilizes Public Access channels to provide additional information to the community.
Every home should have a NOAA weather radio. It is the surest way to receive all-hazards alerts and warnings as well as the latest local forecasts. Ensure that your radio has a Specific Area Message Encoder (SAME) receiver. This allows you to set your radio to receive specific watches and warnings for your area without being bother by those not relevant to you. Island County is located within the Puget Sound transmitter area. The call sign is WWG-24 and the frequency is 162.425 MHz (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/coverage/site2.php?State=WA&Site=WWG24 ).
Island County Department of Emergency Management has a variety of social media we use to share information and preparedness tips. Find us on: Facebook
If power is out throughout the county and cell towers are damaged, we will need utilize other means to keep the community informed. We will be utilizing information boards throughout the county as well as posting information at public buildings. We are also working on establishing official Communication Hubs around the county. These will be places where residents can go to receive important information related to situational awareness, assistance, and recovery. It can also be a means for DEM to collect information related to damage assessments. It will be a direct link to and from DEM. Trained volunteers will be manning these positions. The details are still being developed but so far the public libraries have been identified as suitable locations.
Neighborhoods can also establish their own community Communication Hubs. These are simply a place for neighbors to gather and share information with each other. It can be as simple as a table, a bulletin board, and a NOAA weather radio. Amateur radios can add even more capability to these hubs.