ShakeAlert® in Oregon
If the recent disasters that have impacted our state have taught us anything, it's that being prepared can make a big difference.
The USGS ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning System is available in Oregon as of March 11, 2021, a date that coincides with the 10th anniversary of the magnitude 9.1 Great Tohoku, Japan earthquake.
ShakeAlert® uses science and technology to detect significant earthquakes quickly and sends a real-time alert to people on compatible cell phones and other mobile devices through text-like messages, and through apps as they become available. These important alerts come automatically on most cell phones, making a distinctive sound and displaying a text message that reads, “Earthquake Detected! Drop, Cover, Hold On. Protect Yourself." This text message is also available in Spanish. Some mobile phones with text-to-voice capability may read out the message text.
ShakeAlert does not predict when or where an earthquake will occur or how long it will last. It detects earthquakes that have already begun, offering seconds of advance warning that allow people and systems to take actions to protect life and property from destructive shaking.
ShakeAlert infrastructure is already in place along most of the West Coast and can be used to trigger automatic-action systems, such as slowing a train, water utility valve shutoffs, opening fire station doors and starting back-up generators.
Learn more about how to protect yourself before, during and after an earthquake or a tsunami and how to be 2 Weeks Ready
No sign-up is required to receive ShakeAlert notifications, and no action needs to be taken other than enabling emergency alerts on your cell phone. To do this, follow the directions below:
Check that Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are turned on. Mobile phones that have WEAs turned on are able to receive ShakeAlert Messages starting March 11, 2021. While this setting may already be turned on in your settings on your mobile phone, please take the time to check.
- Tap “Settings" > “Notifications"
- Scroll to the bottom of the screen.
- Under “Government Alerts" tap “Emergency Alerts" and “Public Safety Alerts" to turn them on or off.
- If emergency alerts are turned on, the circle will be on the right-hand side of the switch. No further action is needed.
- If emergency alerts are turned off, the circle will be on the left-hand side of the switch. You will need to tap the switch to put it in the “on" position.
Please see a video demonstrating this on an iPhone
Android Phones (the exact location of the options to turn on Emergency Alerts may vary):
- We recommend that you use the search function in “Settings" to find “Emergency Alerts" or “public safety messages."
- If you can't find “Emergency Alerts" by searching “settings" it may be within your Messaging app, instead.
- Make sure all alerts are turned on (i.e. “Extreme threats", “Severe threats", and “Public safety messages"). If alerts are turned on, the circle will be on the right-hand side of the switch. No further action is needed.
- If alerts are turned off, the circle will be on the left-hand side of the switch. You will need to tap the switch to put it in the “on" position
- Please refer to your mobile phone carrier and/or mobile phone manufacturer's website for additional information.
- In 2020, Google released an earthquake alert feature that is powered by ShakeAlert. This service is only available on wireless devices using the Android operating system.
Click to learn more about ShakeAlert and WEA.
Mobile Apps are also available on App Stores:
Didn't get a ShakeAlert-powered notification for an earthquake? Here's likely why…
You can receive ShakeAlert-powered alerts to your smartphone via Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), built-in alerts, and downloadable cell phone apps.
WEA alerts are delivered to people who could feel Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) scale of 4 (light shaking) or greater for earthquakes magnitude 5.0 or greater. MMI 4 means the earthquake will be felt by many; dishes and windows will likely rattle and walls may creak.
In the case of built-in alerts and downloadable cell phone apps, alerts are delivered to people who could feel MMI 3 (weak shaking) or greater for earthquakes magnitude 4.5 or greater. MMI 3 means the earthquake will be felt by several who may notice a vibration, like the passing of a truck; hanging objects may also swing.
If you still have questions about why you didn't get an alert or want to learn more, please reach out to the U.S. Geological Survey at 626-583-7225.