Emergency Communications

Sign Up for Emergency Notification by Phone, Email, Text and Twitter

Portland and several other local governments in the Portland metro area send automated emergency notifications to published landline phone numbers. You can register to receive notifications also on email, cell phone, Twitter, Internet (VOIP) phone, or a landline provided by a cable TV carrier by going to the Public Alerts Signup Page.

About Local Emergency Radio and TV

During a disaster, most operational TV and radio stations will be broadcasting news and information about the disaster. Local emergency services agencies will be sending alerts to all broadcast media. A very important part of your emergency kit is a battery or hand crank radio, even if you have a smartphone. (This is because in a major disaster networks will be overwhelmed, and texting will probably be the only usable option - assuming cell networks are still operational. See below.) Some radios also receive NOAA (weather radio) channels or shortwave bands.  

Communicating in Disaster

See these valuable guidelines from the FCC and FEMA on How to Communicate Before, During & After a Major Disaster. They include how to prepare your home and mobile device before a disaster, and how to reach friends, loved ones and emergency services during and after a disaster.

Follow Social Media in a Disaster

More and more emergency services agencies are using social media to get information out during disasters, and at other times too. They may also monitor social media in a disaster to learn where their services are most urgently needed. Some have blogs that you may want to check out.

    Red Cross

  • Red Cross Mobile Apps: New Earthquake App in English and Spanish - earthquake notifications, one-touch “I’m safe” messaging, prepare your family and home, preloaded content giving access to information even when cellular reception is down, and more. Also, First Aid and Shelter Finder apps.
  • Portland Red Cross Twitter feed, Facebook page, and signup for monthly newsletter and occasional breaking news by email.  
  • Other Oregon Red Cross chapters: Some have Twitter feeds and Facebook pages and some have newsletters.
  • SW Washington Red Cross Twitter feed, Facebook page, and newsletter signup

    Local Emergency Management Agencies


  • The FEMA App contains disaster safety tips, interactive lists for storing your emergency kit and emergency meeting location information, and a map with open shelters and FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers.
  • Sign up for FEMA’s Text Message Program to access monthly disaster preparedness tips and look for open shelters and Disaster Recovery Centers.
  • FEMA Twitter, Facebook and other media links are here.

    Other Social Media Links

Other Communications Resources

  • HAM radios are a proven method of communication after a disaster. Each fire station in Portland has a HAM radio and operator, though access may be difficult during a disaster.
  • In a major disaster, such as a Cascadia Subduction Zone quake, Google Crisis Response may activate Google Person Finder and other localized information resources.
  • Northwest Fire Locations
  • Trip Check – road conditions within Oregon and surrounding states (e.g., click on Washington area of map for Washington info)