Severe Weather Awareness Week: Alerts and Warnings
Apr 08, 2019 06:03AM
WIRELESS EMERGENCY AND PERSONAL WEATHER ALERTS
Wireless Emergency Alerts
In weather emergencies, warnings can save lives. But traditional warning methods such as television, radio and outdoor sirens don’t always reach everyone.
Emergency officials now have a new way to send warnings directly to cell phones in affected areas — Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs).
These short messages may look like a text message, but unlike texts, which are sent directly to your phone number, these warnings will be broadcast to all phones within range of designated cell towers.
The alerts will tell you the type of warning, the affected area, and the duration. You’ll need to turn to other sources, such as television or your NOAA All-Hazards radio, to get more detailed information about what is happening and what actions you should take.
Key Things to Know
- WEA messages may look like a text, or appear over your home screen.
- The alert message will include a unique ringtone and vibration.
- You will never be charged for WEA messages.
- Emergency alerts will not interrupt any calls or downloads in progress. If you’re on the phone when the alert goes out, you’ll get the message when you end your call.
- You need not have GPS or any other special features turned on to receive the alerts.
- The system does not identify your location or phone number – it simply sends the message to all devices in a given area.
- If you’re on the road and enter an area with an active warning, you’ll receive a WEA message as soon as you come within range of one of the affected cell towers.
Three types of emergency alerts
- PRESIDENTIAL ALERTS — Issued by the U.S. President in the event of a nationwide emergency.
- IMMINENT THREAT ALERTS — Typically issued by the National Weather Service; tornado, flash flood and blizzard warnings are some of the warnings that will initially be sent by the NWS.
- AMBER ALERTS — Issued by the BCA; they will share information about a child abduction.
Personal Weather Notifications
- National Weather Service
- Weather.com (The Weather Channel)
- WCCO 4
- KSTP 5
- KAAL –TV
- WDIO 10 Duluth
- KBJR6/Range 11
- WDAY – Fargo/Moorhead
- WKBT/News8000 LaCrosse, WI
- KELO – SW Minnesota
Emergency Preparedness And Warning Apps For Smartphones
Get Smart! Today’s smartphones and mobile devices can do more than just communicate – they can help you prepare for, respond or recover from emergencies and disasters. Dozens of apps are available from authoritative sources such as FEMA or the Red Cross – and depending on your type of phone and service, many are free.
Some of these tools can warn you of imminent weather dangers, help you build an emergency kit, locate an emergency shelter or even make your phone work as a beacon or flashlight.
Just perform a search through the app store on your phone for words like “weather” or “preparedness” or “emergencies” and download an app you like. For starters – here is a sample list of some apps that are available.
- American Red Cross:
- Emergency Radio
- Send Morse Code
- NDSU Winter Survival Kit
In Cook County Minnesota, you can sign up for CodeRED Emergency Alert System,.
Public Notice from Cook County: County Encourages Residents to Register for CodeRED Alert System
Have you registered for CodeRED, the County’s emergency alert system? Cook County uses CodeRED, a high-speed mass notification system to help keep you safe in the event of an emergency.
“We encourage everyone to register on CodeRed,” said Valerie Marasco, Director – Office of Emergency Management & Public Information. “It’s free and takes only a few seconds, and you will then be notified by your local emergency response team in the event of emergency situations or critical community alerts. The system allows us to deliver emergency messages to you through text message, email and phone calls to your landline or mobile device – you choose how to be notified.”
Messages can be delivered county-wide, to specific geographic regions, or to specific audience. Some examples of when CodeRED may be used include:
- Evacuation Notices
- Missing Person Cases
- Boil water notices
If your cell phone is your primary communication device, it’s important that you sign up to include your mobile contact information so that you receive emergency alerts even when you are on the go. You can also choose to receive text and email messages at the same time.
Register now at: www.cook.mn.us under the Sheriff’s Office or Emergency Management/Public Information pages or go directly to: https://public.coderedweb.com/cne/en-US/E1C720D90332
To read hundreds of helpful articles on emergency preparedness and outdoor and household safety, follow this link to the Boreal Emergency Preparedness Portal. https://www.boreal-emergency.org
Learn the benefits of the Cook County Code Red Notification System