We track Twitter and other social media about emergency alerts and see a lot of posts from folks who are worried about the alerts their seeing on their phones. This worries us because we don’t want people to disable these alerts. So here are a few thoughts that might help:
1) Be chill about flash flood warnings. Flash floods are serious, but they are also very localized. If you live in a low-lying area, like a flood plain, pay attention to flash flood warnings. It’s also important to be aware if you’re driving near waterways. I jog a trail alongside a creek and stay off that if there’s a flash flood warning. But most of these don’t affect most people. Chill.
2) Pay attention to geography. Many alerts aren’t specific enough about area affected, but if you’re getting a “Wireless Emergency Alert” (loud alert sound, text but not normal text), it’s supposed to be about the area you’re in when you get the alert. If you’re indoors and the alert isn’t about evacuating the area, you’re probably OK. Chill.
3) “Check local media”. Turn on the TV or the radio – local stations, not cable, and see if they have any news about the event. Check the websites for your local newspaper or talk radio station. Or get onto Google maps (they’ll sometimes display for your area.) See if there are more details.
4) Sign up for local emergency alerts. Your local police or 911 center may be using an emergency alert service. You can sign up for that to either get more details or just switch to that (choose the text message option and your DND and other settings will work.) To sign up for your local alert service, use www.usnear.org and you can sign up anywhere in the US.