January 2019 Disaster Preparedness Checklist: Alerts and Warnings

January 2019 Disaster Preparedness Checklist: Alerts and Warnings

warning light and siren square
a red warning light is set into a grey wall next to a red speaker for warning sirens

From our Disaster Preparedness Program coordinator Sheryl Gerety (sheryl.gerety@gmail.com): a monthly, seasonally appropriate checklist page to help us tackle preparing for a disaster in manageable steps.

Timely, Accurate, Relevant

State and county agencies make every effort to alert us that dangerous, developing situations are going to require some action such as evacuation or sheltering in place. Decision making involves gathering and evaluating any information about the event, deciding what level of warning should be issued and then carrying through with first responders assisting the public to comply.

Budget constraints and a range of possible events have created a patchwork of city, county, state and federal systems using the spectrum of available media. We pretty much need to craft our own alerts from channels we routinely use during a typical day in our various locations. Only a few environmental risks merit establishing personal alert systems: fast moving wildfires, strong earthquakes and extreme weather events.

Land Line Systems

  • If you rely on landlines you must opt in. Search for city and/or county emergency management webpages where you create an account and register your landline phone
  • Landlines are used to set up local evacuations from threatened communities.

Cell Phones/Smart Phones

  • National warning systems such as Amber Alerts engage cell phones.
  • Smart phone alert systems may be augmented through a selection of apps, tailored to the users’ locale and needs
  • Eschew free apps that may share your data by spending a few dollars to acquire the one or two you need after researching their ratings for ease of use and privacy standards

Local and Cable TV

  • NOAA
  • National Weather Service
  • Local law enforcement

Civil Defense Sirens

  • Range is limited, their location may be irrelevant to you
  • Triggering the siren must coordinate with agencies issuing warnings, slowing down the response


  • NOAA
  • National Weather Service

Internet forecasts

What we are reading:

The Washington Post: After the fire disaster in Paradise, meteorologists mull how to improve warning system
Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2018/11/28/after-fire-disaster-paradise-meteorologists-mull-how-improve-warning-system/?utm_term=.2736b8d10d15

Diocese of Oregon Disaster Preparedness Contacts:

Sheryl Gerety sheryl.gerety@gmail.com
Annette Rankin arrmft@gmail.com
Episcopal Relief and Development 
Episcopal Asset Map