Alerts & Warning Systems
REGISTER TO RECEIVE EVACUATION NOTICES & Fire Information
During wildfires, Marin residents should be prepared to monitor multiple sources for fire and life safety information. Emergency managers will use several methods to distribute fire information: Alert Marin, Nixle, Social Media, local TV and radio, and social media (Facebook and Twitter) are the primary outlets. Don't neglect to use your own senses - look, listen, and smell for signs of fire and changing conditions!
WHEN DO WE USE IT?
- When ACTION is needed at a SPECIFIC ADDRESS
- Imminent flooding, wildfires, and evacuations with life safety implications
- During-event information about evacuation routes, shelters, transportation
- Other public safety incidents where lives may be at risk
WHEN DO WE USE IT?
- When INFORMATION is needed in a ZIP CODE
- Road closures, general updates, issues affecting larger areas
- Post-disaster information about shelters, transportation, or supplies
- Police activity and general public safety information
Twitter, Facebook, NextDoor
WHEN DO WE USE IT?
- Less critical and low level UPDATES intended for larger populations
- Traffic updates, road closures,incident updates, and contact information
- Safety announcement, power outages, minor issues, frequent updates
- Disaster recovery resources
During a wildfire, "Alert Marin" is used to provide notice by phone, text, email, or app when an ACTION must be taken at a SPECIFIC ADDRESS.
If a wildfire requires evacuation in Marin and time allows, emergency managers will use the Alert Marin system to send out notifications by telephone, cellular, VOIP, and text message users who have pre-registered specific street addresses. If you live, work or go to school in Marin County, you should register to receive emergency alerts sent by voice, text, email, or smartphone application. You can register to receive notices for several locations you are likely to spend time at, or monitor family member's addresses as well. Register every address, phone number, and device in your household. Don't delay.
IMPORTANT! ALERT MARIN IS USED WHEN ACTION MUST BE TAKEN AT A SPECIFIC ADDRESS! ALERT MARIN IS NOT A GENERAL PUBLIC INFORMATION SOURCE! Alert Marin will not be used to provide routine updates or fire information!
You MUST pre-register to receive Alert Marin evacuation messages by cell phone or VOIP (Comcast, DSL, or satellite home phones, for example).
Alert Marin messages are infrequent and important. Please be sure to set the Alert Marin contact numbers for "Emergency Bypass" on your mobile phone (see below).
Other Fire Information RESOURCES
During a wildfire, "Nixle" is used to provide INFORMATION by text message targeting ENTIRE ZIP CODES when new INFORMATION becomes available.
Register for Nixle by texting your Zip Code to 888777 or register online to configure and fine-tune your messaging options.
Please understand that during a wildfire, initial messaging may take time to develop as firefighters focus on attacking the fire and gather information. Do not expect frequent updates by Nixle (or Alert Marin). Information will be updated only when conditions change or updates are warranted. Social media or TV and radio are good options to monitor for "play-by-play" updates.
It is important to understand that Alert Marin and Nixle are different, complementary systems, and currently require separate registrations! Nixle is an opt-in text message service used to announce local information, targeting zip codes. You are likely to receive frequent, low-level, non-emergency texts from many local public safety agencies by Nixle. Nixle may be used to provide general fire information or rebroadcast evacuation alerts, but Alert Marin is a separate and distinct system targeting specific street addresses with the ability to send voice, text, or email ACTION messages. FIRESafe MARIN recommends that everyone register for Alert Marin and Nixle, and understand the difference!
Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are excellent sources of public information and may be used by local agencies during emergencies. Be sure to follow your local fire department, Marin County Fire Department (@marincountyfire), Marin County Sheriff's Office (@marinsheriff), and your local police department to monitor fire information and receive updates during local wildfires.
Local TV and Radio
Monitor local news and radio stations for fire information. In Marin, AM 740 (KCBS), 810 and FM 88.5 are good options. In West Marin, KWMR FM 90.5 Point Reyes & FM 89.9 Bolinas are excellent local options. KPIX, KRON, KTVU are good local TV news sources.
Wireless Emergency Alerts
Wireless Emergency Alerts are well know as the system used to distribute "Amber Alerts." These are sent to large geographic areas, and may be used to send information for large scale emergencies and disasters. Be sure to verify that Wireless Emergency alerts (Amber alerts and Emergency Alerts) are turned on in your cell-phone's settings. For example, on an iPhone, under settings/notifications, scroll to the bottom of the page and ensure all alerts are turned ON.
NEW - Alert Marin registrants can send a test notification to ensure the system works properly!
Log in to your Alert Marin account to verify your contact information and send a test alert.
Please be sure to enter the Alert Marin contact numbers in your smartphone (415-473-6376 and 893-61) and configure this contact to use your phone's "Emergency Bypass" mode to allow ringing even when your phone is set to silent (iOS set ringtone to "Emergency Bypass" set ringtone to "Emergency Bypass"; Android may vary by phone manufacturer - start here).
Will you notify me every time a fire is burning nearby?
It’s important to understand that you will NOT receive routine notifications whenever the fire department responds to a fire in your neighborhood. In most cases, firefighters are able to quickly extinguish fires without the need for evacuations. Alert Marin will normally be used only when there is threat or need for evacuation, and messages will only be sent to the addresses impacted!
Nixle and Twitter, as well as local tv and radio, are also good sources for local information, but are NOT the official evacuation notification system in Marin. Do not rely exclusively on these alternate sources for evacuation information!
When a severe weather watch or warning is issued by the National Weather Service, many NOAA Weather Radios are able to alert you with a loud warning tone or siren, giving you the seconds you need to evacuate or seek shelter. Local agencies may issue evacuation notices through this radio based system as well, providing a backup notification system to homes that may be without power or out of cellular communication range.
California law authorizes officers to restrict access to any area where a menace to public health or safety exists due to a calamity such as flood, storm, fire, earthquake, explosion, accident or other disaster. Refusal to comply is a misdemeanor. (Penal Code 409.5)
The terms Voluntary and Mandatory are often used by the media to describe evacuations. In Marin, fire agencies and law enforcement will use the terms Evacuation Order, Evacuation Warning, and Shelter In Place. These terms are used to alert you to the significance of the danger and provide basic instructions. All evacuation instructions provided by officials should be followed immediately for your safety.
SHELTER IN PLACE
Fire expected to arrive in less than 1 hour, with threat to civilian life. Evacuate immediately, do not delay to gather belongings or prepare your home.
Fire expected to arrive in 2 hours or more, with threat to civilian life. Evacuate as soon as possible. A short delay to gather your evacuation kit and prepare your home (see Evacuation Checklist) may be ok.
Community members should stay secured in current location. Sheltering in place may be used when evacuation would cause greater threat to life.