The Missoula County Office of Emergency Management utilizes three different levels of emergency alerts for public information and warnings:
- MEANS alerts
- Smart911 alerts
- IPAWS/WEA alerts
All emergency alerts issued by Missoula County are timely and provide actionable information. When an incident or emergency is occurring or imminent, residents and visits should stay informed of the latest developments through via traditional media and social media outlets.
MEANS (Missoula Emergency Action Notification System) alerts are widespread area messages issued through local media outlets on a voluntary basis. Not all stations may choose to broadcast a MEANS alert.
MEANS alerts are used to convey urgent, but typically non-emergency situations to the public. MEANS alerts are typically used to warn of severe weather or road closures.
Smart911 alerts are targeted messages meant to reach people within specific area or a group of people through texts, emails and/or voice messages. Land lines are preloaded into the system and will receive alerts without prior registration, however people must sign up to receive these alerts on their cell phones. Please sign up at www.smart911.com.
Smart911 alerts may typically used be used to warn of an armed suspect in a particular area, an evacuation or a missing person. They may also be used to reach out to people who may need extra help during an incident, such as those reliant upon powered medical devices during a power outage.
IPAWS/WEA alerts (Integrated Public Alerts and Warning System/Wireless Emergency Alerts) leverages RAVE alerts, land line phones and, the state and national EAS (Emergency Alert System). IPAWS/WEA alerts initiate an EAS message and force alerts onto cell phones within a geographic area, much like Amber alerts. Targeting capability with IPAWS/WEA alerts is limited to cell tower coverage areas.
This type of alert is a higher level alert that is used for widespread disasters or warning of impending disasters.