On Saturday, January 13, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent a false Wireless Emergency Alert by mistake, causing widespread panic among island residents, and bringing into question safeguards for issuing public emergency notifications. Early reports suggest human error was to blame.
While King County and jurisdictions across our region administer similar public alert systems, we have safeguards in place to prevent this type of misstep. Strict procedures are in place and ongoing training is required of those authorized to issue emergency alerts. We will also look closely at Hawaii’s processes to see what else we might be able to do to strengthen our alerts systems.
This news story serves as a reminder to us all about the importance of being disaster prepared. Staying informed is key to staying safe and making smart decisions. As a County employee, you have free access to two similar, yet separate, emergency notification systems to help you do just that.
ALERT King County – Our region’s public information and notification system
This public opt-in system is used to quickly and broadly communicate important information regarding emergency situations, threats to public health and safety, and impacts to critical infrastructure. Use it to register your physical home and work addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers so you can receive geo-targeted text and voice alerts wherever you are. Register here.
KC Inform – King County’s employee emergency notification system
This internal opt-in system is used to reach County employees during an emergency with timely information about infrastructure disruptions, facility closures, changes in your department’s business operations, and other critical impacts. Register your County-issued cell phone (if applicable) and personal cell phone and email address to ensure you don’t miss critical, time-sensitive messages. To register, contact KCInform@kingcounty.gov or call 206-296-3830 to request a unique registration link.
The data you provide is secure and protected and will only be used to contact you in the event of an emergency or system test. Find out more in our Frequently Asked Questions.