Alert Iowa Statewide Messaging System
Alert Iowa is a statewide mass notification and emergency messaging system. The system can be used by state and local authorities to quickly disseminate emergency information to residents in counties that utilize the system. The system is available, free of charge, to all counties, however, they are not required to use the system. Only 15 of Iowa's 99 counties are not using Alert Iowa.
Alert Iowa will allow citizens to sign up for the types of alerts they would like to receive. The best way to receive messages is via text message. Messages may contain photo, video and audio attachments to help subscribers better understand the situation at hand, or where to find additional information.
The map below shows the counties that have signed up to join the Alert Iowa system. Citizens will be able to sign up to receive alerts on the county's registration page. If you choose, you may sign up to receive alerts in multiple counties. Click here for a PDF of this map.
Iowa counties who haven't already signed up for Alert Iowa but wish to do so can learn more about the process here.
Click on a participating county in this map to sign up for alerts!
A total of 84 counties have signed up to use the Alert Iowa system.
Eighty-two of these counties are able to both register users and send alerts. Hamilton and Union counties will be able to send and receive alerts soon.
Click a link below to sign up for alerts in participating counties.
What are Wireless Emergency Alerts?
Wireless emergency alerts (WEAs) are used to send concise, text-like messages to WEA-capable mobile devices during emergency situations. WEAs are sent by state and local public safety officials, the National Weather Service, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the President of the United States.
There are three types of alerts.
Frequently Asked Questions about WEA messages
Q: How do I know if I’m able to receive WEA messages?
A: More than 100 wireless providers, including all of the largest carriers, have WEA-capable devices. WEAcapable phones first became available in April 2012, but many mobile devices, especially older ones, are not WEA-capable. If you purchase a new mobile device, it will probably be able to receive WEA messages. Check with your mobile carrier to determine if your device is capable of receiving WEA alerts.
Q: Do I need to sign up to receive WEA messages?
A: No. WEA messages are sent automatically to WEA-capable phones through participating carriers in a specific threat area.
Q: Will I be charged for receiving WEA messages?
No. This service is offered for free through wireless carriers. WEA messages will not count toward your texting limits on your wireless plan.
Q: What should I do if I receive a WEA message?
A: Follow any action advised by the message. Look for more information from local authorities or the media.
Q: Will a WEA message interrupt my phone conversations?
A: No. The alert will be delayed until you finish your call.
Q: Does WEA know where I am? Is it tracking me?
A: No. WEAs are broadcast from cell towers to mobile devices in the area of the threat. Every WEA-capable phone within range receives the message. WEA, like TV and radio stations, doesn’t know who is tuned in.
Q: How often will I receive WEA messages?
A: You may get very few WEA messages, or you may receive frequent messages if conditions change during an emergency. The number depends on the number of imminent threats to life or property in your area.
Q: If, during an emergency, I can’t make or receive calls or text messages due to network congestion, will I still be able to receive a WEA message?
A: Yes, WEA messages are not affected by network congestion.
Q: What if I don’t want to receive WEA messages?
A: Although it is not recommended, you can opt out of receiving WEA messages for imminent threats and AMBER alerts, but not for Presidential messages. To opt out, adjust the settings on your mobile device.
Q: What if I travel into a threat area after a WEA message has already been sent out?
A: If the threat is still active, your WEA-capable device will receive the message when you enter the area.
Q: Is this the same service public safety agencies have asked the public to register for (Alert Iowa)?
A: No, but the messaging is complementary. Local agencies may ask the public to sign up to receive telephone calls, text messages, or emails. Those messages often include specific details about a critical event. WEAs are very short messages designed to get your attention in a critical situation. They may not give all the details that you receive from other services (like Alert Iowa).