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Be Informed

Disaster can strike at any time. Being informed means that you will know when it does. This section reviews multiple official ways to receive important emergency notifications, alerts, and tips.

Importance of Information

  • In a world of information at our fingertips, disaster can change the way we access it.

  • Information from official sources is the most reliable way to stay updated on emergency response and recovery. Unofficial sources can spread unconfirmed, dramatized, or biased information.

  • Disasters can disrupt communication through cell phones, internet, television, and local radio.

Information Sources

Mass Notification Systems

These text messaging services, run by local governments, state governments, and individual institutions, disseminate important information through text messaging, calls, and emails. They can notify populations about dangerous events such as violent crime, sandbag distribution, flooding, tornadoes, and more.

Local Mass Notification Systems

Statewide Mass Notification Systems

Wireless Emergency Alerts

  • Your cell phone is automatically programmed to receive specific alerts based on your location, intended to keep you safe. These include AMBER Alerts, immediate extreme weather, and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency.

Social Media

Information obtained through social media should be verified as coming from an official source. Government offices, such as your local city, county, state, or federal social media accounts may disseminate information to the public. Be cautious about hoaxes and dramatization from unofficial sources.

NOAA Weather Radio

NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

NOAA radios can be bought in stores and online, easily set up, and receive alerts clearly from anywhere in the 50 states and U.S. territories.

Some weather radios also function as regular radios, and some will only activate in the event of an emergency.

News and Radio

In the event of an emergency, many local news and radio stations will broadcast any official information they receive. If available, keep an eye on the news to stay updated on important things like evacuation orders, storm tracking, travel advisories, and more.


Amateur Radio

In a worst case scenario, such as a major disaster that disables communication abilities, there is only one tried and true form of long-distance communication: Amateur Radio. Also known as Ham Radio, these radios require FCC licensing to operate and will work no matter what. For more information on how to get your amateur radio license, please visit Hillsborough County's Amateur Radio Emergency Services website at

Stay up to date on travel advisories, hurricane and tropical storm alerts, terrorism and criminal advisories, and local weather by vising our Monitoring Center.

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