ALERTBoston is the city's emergency notification system. It allows you to sign up to receive emergency alerts on your cell phone, work phone, text message, e-mail, home phone, and more. You can also choose the neighborhoods you want to receive information about- notifications regarding emergencies that may affect your home, your parents' home, your workplace, and your child's school, as long as those locations are within the boundaries of Boston.
Will I still get emergency notifications if I don't sign up?
If you don't sign up, you may still receive notifications on your traditional (landline) home phone, if the number is publicly available. However, it is always best to register to ensure your contact information is included.
What if my phone number or email address changes?
The system is only as good as the information you provide. If your cell phone, work phone or email address changes, you must go to your profile and update the information.
Will my contact information be shared with others?
No, the information that you provide will be used for emergency purposes only. We will not give or sell your telephone numbers or email addresses to any vendor or other organization.
Evacuation and Shelter
What is the Evacuation and Sheltering Plan?
The City of Boston has a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan covering a wide range of emergency situations. Two major sections of this plan concern evacuation and sheltering referred to as Mass Care. These two plans provide the city's emergency management team guidance and instructions and serve as a means of allocating resources, such as transportation. They are designed to accommodate emergency situations ranging from local incidents to mass evacuation or sheltering of large segments of the population.
Who will order an evacuation?
The Mayor of Boston will order an evacuation based on current conditions and advice from emergency personnel.
Who will coordinate an evacuation?
The Boston Police Department will coordinate and control an evacuation effort with the support of the Fire Department, EMS, and other agencies.
What is the difference between a Neighborhood Emergency Center and a Mass Care Facility?
A neighborhood emergency center is a facility at which citizens that need transportation during an evacuation will congregate. A Mass Care Facility will shelter citizens during an evacuation. In certain instances, an evacuation center could be used as a short term mass care facility.
Do all evacuations necessitate leaving the city?
No, in fact mass evacuation is the measure of last resort. The objective of evacuation is to remove the population from the danger zone. Most evacuations will involve relocation to facilities within the city.
If I have to evacuate, can I bring my pet?
Our plans accommodate keeping families together and that includes pets. Every effort will be made to provide pet shelters. Generally, pets are not allowed in Mass Care facilities, with the exception of working animals.
Boston is not a region that receives many hurricanes. Why does the city need to have an evacuation plan?
Preparing for public safety and security is an issue of impact, not event. The requirement to evacuate portions of the city or provide shelters could be caused by any number of types of incidents either natural or man-made. Whether the emergency is a weather event or a large fire is a matter for first responders and response teams. The requirements for evacuation and sheltering are independent of cause. This is called the all hazards approach and is the reason that we have strengthened the plans.
If the city is being evacuated, how and when will I be notified?
We plan on using the complete spectrum of media and notification means. For example, radio and TV stations will be broadcast emergency information. We are also developing new technologies to help contact individuals via telephones and cell phones.
Sign up for ALERTBoston (the City's Emergency Notification System)
What steps are being taken to avoid gridlock experiences in the event of evacuations?
One key aspect of evacuation route planning and execution is control. Evacuees will only be allowed to get on the designated evacuation routes at specific points. By controlling both the volume of traffic and ensuring that services, such as fuel and wreckers are available, we can maximize the throughput on the evacuation routes.
If I have questions about emergency preparedness, who can I contact for more information?
You can contact 311 to have your questions answered.