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System glitches lead to changes for Spokane County emergency alerts. Here’s how you can still get them

For Spokane residents who still want to receive emergency alerts, there is a sign-up system available at alertspokane.org.
ALERT Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. — Many people who received emergency alerts for recent fire evacuations, police activity or missing people were nowhere near the event. 

The cause of the problem resides in the federal emergency system that sends wireless alerts to everyone in the area. However, the geographical glitches within the system caused many alerts to be sent to recipients who were not close to the event or they were sent at different times.

Program Specialist Simone Ramel-McKay said they will pause the federal alerts, and send notifications through ALERT Spokane when there is an immediate threat to the public.

The federal system that is facing the technical issues is called IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System).

"So what we're going to do is we're going to send out CodeRED alerts for all fire evacuations for a law enforcement warning for a missing person, whatever it may be, we're still going to use the code red system it is there are no problems with the system, it is working really well," Ramel-McKay said.

Ramel-McKay said they are expecting it to take and month or longer to fix the geographical issues.

“We were under the impression that only phones that were within one tenth of a mile of a map we created would get the alerts, maybe we’d have some strays but they would still stay within perhaps a few miles”

Ramel-McKay said they will be operating on a sign-up system called Alert Spokane for those who still wish to receive emergency alerts. They can register at alertspokane.org.