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City launches AlertSeattle to send emergency notices via text and email

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 11.15.41 AMEmergency preparedness on Capitol Hill may be lagging, but a new City of Seattle service is offering users the opportunity to get real time updates in emergency situations through text messages and email.

The City rolled out AlertSeattle this week, a notification system that pushes out information on what to do in major emergencies like earthquakes, explosions, flooding and other disasters. In the case of an earthquake, for instance, you may get a text like this:

AlertSeattle: A 7.5 earthquake occurred at 10:55 a.m. on the Seattle fault line. Drop, cover and hold on during aftershocks. Visit for safety information.

The customizable service will also alert users to severe weather, public safety issues, utility service disruptions, and major traffic incidents. The number of alerts you get will depend on what type of alerts you want and how many addresses you add to your profile.

It only takes a couple minutes to create an AlertSeattle profile, which the City will not share with outside parties. The service also gives you the option of sharing your profile with 911 operators. Signing up at is free, but message and data rates may apply.

“People can customize what alerts they want to receive and how they want to be notified,” said Barb Graff, director of Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management. “Getting good information out quickly is critical during emergencies, and AlertSeattle is an excellent tool for people to stay informed.”

The group Capitol Hill Prepares, perhaps the most active emergency preparedness group in the Central Area, recently announced it would be dissolving its earthquake preparedness activities as a city-identified “Hub.” The announcement came just before a much circulated New Yorker story was published, reminding everyone how “toast” the Pacific Northwest will be when “the big one” hits.

Learn more about AlertSeattle at

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5 years ago

I just registered. Could be a useful service but I hope people aren’t looking at text messages during an earthquake. Assuming we have infrastructure in place to support the system when a disaster occurs.