In Berkeley, Alameda County, and California, many systems disseminate emergency information and instructions. In the event of an immediate threat to your life, health, or safety, the City of Berkeley and its government partners may activate their systems.
It is important for the Berkeley community to know where to find information and instructions before an emergency occurs. To ensure that you have access to information from multiple sources in an emergency, review the available systems below. Please note that some systems require you to sign up, or to purchase special equipment to receive alerts.
City of Berkeley Systems
Berkeley Emergency Notification System
The Berkeley Emergency Notification System (BENS) is one of the tools the City of Berkeley uses to communicate emergency information and instructions to the community. BENS can send:
- Voice alerts to phones
- SMS text messages
- TTY/TDD messages
Community members must sign up to receive voice or text alerts on cell phones, VoIP phones, unlisted phones or through email. Traditional, listed AT&T "land lines" are automatically included in the system and require no further action.
1610 AM is an FCC-licensed radio station run by the City of Berkeley. The station plays recorded messages. In a disaster, the City may use 1610 AM to disseminate emergency information and instructions to the Berkeley community.
Please note, the 1610 AM broadcast is audible in most, but not all, areas of Berkeley. The City has authorized KPFA radio to rebroadcast or simulcast the 1610 AM signal on KPFB - 89.3 FM. In an emergency, KPFA staff will determine whether or not to rebroadcast or simulcast the 1610 AM signal.
Alameda County and State-Run Systems
Emergency Alert System
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is the national public warning system. It requires television and radio broadcasters to enable the President to address the American public during a national emergency. The system may also be used by State and County authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as AMBER alerts and weather information targeted to specific areas.
In Berkeley, your EAS radio stations are KCBS - 740 AM, KQED - 88.5 FM, and KSOL - 98.9 FM (Spanish)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio
NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) broadcasts National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts as well as other non-weather related hazard information. During an emergency, National Weather Service forecasters send a special tone to activate local weather radios. NWR cannot be heard on a simple AM/FM radio receiver; it requires a special radio receiver or scanner capable of picking up the signal.
Emergency Digital Information Service
The Emergency Digital Information Service delivers official information about emergencies and disasters to the California public and the news media.
U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Notification Service
The Earthquake Notification Service sends email notifications to subscribers when an earthquake happens in their area.
UC Berkeley: WarnME
WarnMe is UC Berkeley's alerting and warning service for UC Berkeley students, staff, and faculty. WarnME is not the same as the Berkeley Emergency Notification System (BENS). You must have an @berkeley.edu email address to be eligible to receive these alerts.