How to sign up for emergency alerts where you live

Emergency alerts directly to your phone have been in the spotlight ever since the deadly North Bay firestorm in 2017 and now again in the wake of the Camp Fire in Butte County.

Many people were not signed up for the services that could have alerted them to evacuate the wildfires. Officials around the Bay Area are now recommending people sign up for emergency alerts for the cities where they live.

The challenge is that there is no universal alert system for the Bay Area. Most cities and counties have their own systems.

Here are a few of the alert systems around the Bay Area and how you can sign up for them:

Nixle: Almost every city sends out Nixle alerts. They range from simple alerts about crimes and community notices to major alerts regarding disasters. It's a good idea to sign up for all applicable alerts in your area.

How to sign up: Text your Zip code to 888-777 or visit

San Francisco County

AlertSF -Text-based Notification system for SF City residents and visitors. Sends alerts regarding traffic emergencies, tsunami watches and warnings, flooding and city wide-post disaster information. Registrants can also sign up to receive English-language automated alerts for specific areas of the city.

How to sign up: Text "AlertSF" to 888-777 or visit:

Alameda County

ACAlert - Sends alerts via phone, text and e-mail regarding emergencies (earthquakes, fires, severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing people and evacuations) and other important community information. Partnership between Alameda County agencies and 14 cities (Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Dublin, Emeryville, Fremont, Hayward, Livermore, Newark, Oakland, Piedmont, Pleasanton, San Leandro and Union City).

How to sign up: Visit this link.

Contra Costa County

Community Warning System (CWS Alerts): Sends voice, text and e-mail alerts in English and Spanish. A partnership between sheriff's department, health services and other government agencies striving to deliver "time sensitive and potentially live-saving information."

How to sign up: Visit this link.

Marin County

AlertMarin: Sends voice, text and e-mail alerts. Residents can also get alerts from the County of Marin smartphone app. Alerts contain incident-specific information or life-saving instructions to precise geographic areas. Emergency situations include: flooding, wildfires, public safety incidents, evacuations and post-disaster information including shelters, transportation and supplies.

How to sign up: Visit: this link.

Sonoma County

SoCoAlert: Sends voice, text, e-mail and social media alerts regarding time-sensitive geographically specific emergencies. These include evacuation notifications, shelter-in-place, boil water advisories, tsunami and flood warnings.

How to sign up: Call (707) 565-1369 or (866) 939-0911. Or visit this link.

San Mateo County

SMC Alert: Sends voice, text and email alerts during urgent or emergency situations. You can elect to receive emergency and non-emergency alerts. Sent out by local police, fire and emergency managers from several cities with San Mateo County. Types of alerts sent out include: evacuation alerts and routes, crime alerts, major road closures, wildlife warnings (like mountain lion sightings) and nearest emergency shelters.

How to sign up: Visit this link.

Santa Clara County

AlertSCC: Sends voice, text and e-mail alerts about emergency situations. Examples include earthquakes, fires, crime incidents, hazardous materials incidents and infectious disease information. Serves residents in: Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga, Sunnyvale and unincorporated areas.

How to sign up: Visit this link.

Campbell (CodeRED): The city of Campbell uses AlertSCC but also has its own system called CodeRED. They urge residents to sign up for both. This is specifically for emergencies that occur within the Campbell city limits.

How to sign up: Visit this link.

Napa County

Napa County Emergency Alerts: Napa has its own text and e-mail alerts, but you need to sign up through the county's website in order to receive them. They are also on Nixle, and it's recommended residents sign up for it as well.

How to sign up: this link.

Mendocino County

Mendocino County Citizen Emergency Alert and Notication Service: Sends voice, text, and e-mail alerts about emergency situations, including imminent threats to health and safety as well as optional informational notifications that affect your locations or work environments. Notifications regarding severe weather, flooding, gas leaks and police activity will also be sent.

How to sign up: Visit this link.

Monterey County

AlertMonterey: Sends voice, mobile, email and text alerts about emergencies and other important community news through the Emergency Alert Program. This system is used to send critical information about severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods.

How to sign up: Visit this link.

Lake County

CodeRED: The Lake County Sheriff's Office sends phone, email, text and social alerts about evacuation notices, utility outages, water main breaks, fire or floods, chemical spills or other emergency situations.

How to sign up: Call 866-419-5000 for emergency calls or 855-969-4636 for general calls. You can also get the Mobile Alert App. Or visit this link.

How to sign up: Visit this link.

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