Alert & Warning
Success in saving lives and property is dependent upon clear and timely dissemination of emergency information to persons in threatened areas. Pierce County Emergency Management has various systems in place to ensure that residents are notified in the event of a small or major emergency.
Pierce County ALERT is a FREE system that allows you to sign up and receive notifications about emergencies that may affect the locations that concern you. This service allows fire, police, and other agencies handling emergency response to send out accurate and up-to-date information to residents. Receive alerts on different devices such as your cell phone, home phone, email, and TTY. Choose up to five locations you want to be notified about such as your residence, workplace, children’s school and more.
The Outdoor Warning System is part of an overall emergency communications system for Pierce County. The focus for the sirens is to warn the residents in the Puyallup River Valley, Orting and Nisqually valleys of imminent dangers including flooding, wildfires, lahars and eruptions from Mount Rainier.
The system was originally created to notify people of imminent volcanic dangers. People would be advised to evacuate the valley floor and head to higher ground by vehicle or foot. The Outdoor Warning System was expanded in 2020 to include other emergencies. The system is tested at noon on the first Monday of every month. The system plays a Westminster chime during the tests and a verbal message about the test. During an emergency, the system uses a siren sound to alert residents who are outside. The verbal message - in English and Spanish - will direct people to check local media and Pierce County's social media for updates. Blue flashing lights are also on the towers to attract attention during an emergency.
FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) program provides an internet-based capability for federal, state, territorial, tribal and local authorities to use in order to issue critical public alerts and warnings.
IPAWS improves alert and warning capabilities by allowing alerting authorities to deliver their message from a single portal to multiple communication pathways. Three pathways are:
- Emergency Alert System (EAS).
- Wireless Emergency Alerts | FEMA.gov (WEAs).
- Non-Weather Emergency Messages (NWEM).
IPAWS and Ready.gov
The IPAWS Project Management Office, in partnership with Ready.gov, has created public education products that are designed to help the American public understand the functions of the public alert and warning system; prepare for emergencies; and how to access, use and respond to information from public safety officials.
Public Service Announcements for television and radio, in English and Spanish, were created to draw the public’s attention to WEAs and how they are an important, lifesaving tool. The PSAs are intended to educate the public on what WEA is, how to recognize when a message is received, to heed the warning, and take the prescribed protective action in the message. They also direct viewers to learn more about life-saving alerts at Ready.gov/alerts.