What Is A Civil Emergency?

Civil Emergencies are called “National Alerts” and are initiated by the government at a national, provincial/territorial, or municipal level. They’re designed to notify the general public about current or developing threats to life and property. In the first six months of 2020, 173 alerts have been distributed through the national Alert Ready System, with 26 of them being Civil Emergencies. Now let’s get deeper into what is a civil emergency.

Civil Emergency

A CEM (Civil Emergency Message) is a warning from a state, national, or local agency of government that is broadcast through the (NWR) Weather Radio NOAA system and Emergency Alert System (EAS). This emergency can be caused by the weather, but it may also be part of an all-hazard alert.

what is a civil emergency

Examples for a civil emergency may include:

  • Landslides
  • Hazardous materials release
  • Terrorist threat
  • Flooding
  • Dam failure; and 
  • Sharing information about the current COVID-19  pandemic

Civil Emergency alerts are intended to notify you about an impending emergency or one that is already underway and to provide you with safety strategies. These are only sent out when a complete analysis of the degree of the problem and its importance to public safety determines that they are required.  

Emergency notifications, which notify you of emergency situations that may affect your safety and security, have been credited with saving lives. Take the time to examine the material provided and follow its instructions after receiving an alert stop.  

How Does Something Become A Civil Emergency

What qualifies as a civil emergency varies somewhat depending on the location where you live since they are generally declared by a local or state emergency management office. They are generally going to be a calamity or catastrophe that affects the local community and is either imminent or in progress, which makes them civil emergencies.

A civil emergency is any unforeseen event that causes damage and disruption to your company’s operations, such as a terrorist threat, flooding, weakened dams,  landslides, water loss, or even an accidental release of chemicals into the air.

What Should You Do If Get An Civil Emergency Alert

  • See and listen to the warning
  • Follow the given instructions carefully
  • Do not attempt to visit the damaged location
  • If you are not in the danger zone, inform your family members that you are safe

Even if all of the information is not given to the general public as to why a civil emergency alert has been issued, it may be sent. For an illustration of this, click here. Even if this is the case, adhering to the instructions given is critical in order for people in the area to be secure.  

what is a civil emergency

To get an emergency alert from Alert Ready on your phone, it must be turned on and linked to an LTE network. If your phone is in silent mode, an alert will be shown on the screen but there will be no audible notification to let you know about an impending alert.

For those that don’t want to be blindsided by an emergency alert, Set It and Forget It is an excellent choice. With over 15 distinct methods to receive notifications, your chances of receiving the message improve. You can also receive alerts by using a mobile app (which may divert your phone’s silent mode for critical updates), text, email, phone, home smart speakers, social media, and instant messaging platforms like Slack, Facebook Messenger, and Microsoft Teams.

What You Mean By Civil Emergency Message

CEM is used to inform the general public about the potential threats to their safety or ongoing hazards that are underway as the message is delivered. A Civil Emergency Message has higher importance than a Local Area Emergency (a warning of a potential hazard) but is less wide-ranging and specific as to the affected area than a Civil Danger Warning (an ongoing danger to a significant number of people).

Broadcast Emergency Messages: NWR

All-hazard warnings will be sent exclusively via the Weather Radio service, NOAA which was selected to be the primary means of delivering all-hazard alerts to the public. A study was conducted in the 1970s and discovered that the National Weather Service had superior coverage than other systems, making it easier and more efficient for them to take on the role of issuing emergency notifications as the main office.

The National Emergency Alert System (EAS) has made it simpler to contact people in the aftermath of a catastrophe, but NWR continues to broadcast alerts over VHF radio in the event that other technology fails or you’re in an area where cell signal is not available. They have the capacity to send information to specific locations or the entire network at once.

The National Weather Service broadcasts through a network of over 1000 radio transmitters, which cover all 50 states, adjacent coastal waters, and Puerto Rico. They provide up-to-date information 24 hours a day, seven days a week!

The National Weather Service is a wonderful tool for learning what’s going on in your neighborhood. They don’t only issue weather warnings.

If you ever want to figure out what’s going on in an area, type the zip code into their website’s top left box and hit search. You’ll get a lot of weather information, but you’ll also be given access to any other hazardous circumstances that have been reported in the region. It’s a tool that many people are familiar with!

How Does A Civil Emergency Message Get Sent Out

When a CEM is sent out, it generally originates from the local or state emergency management office. The National Weather Service sends the message to the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR), which then broadcasts it to radio stations across the country.

The CEM will be broadcast over the EAS, so you should receive a notification on your phone and the television.


When you get a message about an emergency situation that is going to happen or has already occurred, it’s generally known as a Disaster Notification. It provides you with pointers on what to do in the event of an emergency. You should avoid the area if possible, or follow the instructions.

Never go to a disaster area just to check it out and see what’s going on! You not only risk getting hurt, but you also put emergency personnel at risk of being injured while attempting to save you.

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