Alerts, Notifications and Warnings

When disasters and emergencies happen, notifying or alerting the public becomes paramount and every jurisdiction in the United States is required to maintain a system that allows them to facilitate such efforts. There are various mechanisms in place to notify our businesses, residents and visitors of important information or suggested action to keep them safe. In Mecklenburg County, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office (CMEMO) manages the system (Everbridge) that disseminates public alerts, notifications and warnings, including CharMeck Alerts, Emergency Alerts (WEA) and Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) notifications.

CharMeck Alerts

The CharMeck Alerts notification system relays accurate and timely notifications of the information you want and need to know. CharMeck Alerts allows you to decide what types of alerts you would like to receive and how you would like to receive them. Alerts are geographically targeted and include options for both emergency alerts and non-emergency alerts related to your local government services. CharMeck Alerts can be received by phones calls, text messages, emails and push notifications to your phone.

There are multiple ways you may interact with the CharMeck Alerts system. You may sign up for CharMeck Alerts, edit or unsubscribe or you can view frequently asked questions (FAQs) about CharMeck Alerts


Emergency Alert System (EAS)

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national warning system that sends emergency messages to radio and television stations, to include cable and satellite stations. The system enables federal, state and local governments to notify the public of emergency and disaster information. The system is also used to notify the public of severe weather alerts issued by the National Weather Service (NWS). The system can be used to send alerts by county or statewide. Radio station FM 107.9 WLNK is the designated primary EAS activation station for Charlotte, however all Charlotte area local radio and television stations broadcast EAS messages. Radio and television stations are required to test the EAS weekly, however this weekly test may not include audio or video components. Audio and visual tests are conducted monthly


Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)

The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system is an essential part of America’s emergency preparedness. Since its launch in 2012, the WEA system has been used more than 61,000 times to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations – all through alerts on compatible cell phones and other mobile devices.

  • WEA is a public safety system that allows customers who own compatible mobile devices to receive geographically targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area.
  • WEA enables government officials to target emergency alerts to specific geographic areas – Uptown Charlotte, for example.
  • Wireless companies volunteer to participate in WEA, which is the result of a unique public/private partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the United States wireless industry in order to enhance public safety.



NOAA Weather Radio

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio is a dedicated radio that receives real-time weather information direct from the National Weather Service (NWS). For the Charlotte region, you may tune your NOAA enabled weather radio to WXL-70A (162.475) for the latest weather-related information. A routine weather message is typically repeated every four (4) to six (6) minutes and are updated everyone (1) to three (3) hours. During severe weather, more frequent updates and live broadcasts are used to notify listeners of potential hail, flooding, tornadoes, blizzard conditions and other weather warnings. Newer radios can be set to play county-specific alerts. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts can usually be heard as far as miles from a transmitter, although a good quality antenna may be needed for reliable reception in some urban areas.

If you do not have access to or the means to purchase a NOAA enabled weather radio and you would like one, a limited number are available through our office. You may request one by emailing or by calling our office at 704.336.2412


Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS)

The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) is the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) national system for local alerting that provides authenticated emergency and life-saving information to the public through mobile phones using Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), to radio and television via the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) enabled weather radio.

Our office is an authorized sender of IPAWS messages, and we are required to renew our credentials with FEMA on a regular basis. Only select, trained individuals within our office maintain the ability to distribute messaging. We typically only issue IPAWS messages in situations where there is an immediate or projected threat to life.


Duke Energy Nuclear Sirens

Sirens are the primary outdoor warning system for alerting the public of an emergency and in Mecklenburg County are only used to notify the public, in the unlikely event of an emergency to a nuclear station (Catawba or McGuire). Duke Energy would simultaneously notify federal, state and local authorities. These authorities could activate pole-mounted sirens located throughout the station's 10-mile emergency planning zone (EPZ), which is the 10-mile area adjacent to each facility.

  • If you hear a loud, steady sound coming from one of the sirens around the nuclear station, tune to a local radio or TV station. These stations will carry an emergency alert information (EAS) message from local officials to give you information and instructions on what to do.
  • Remember, hearing a siren does not mean you should evacuate. It simply means to tune to a local radio or television station for information. If sirens are sounding and you do not see or hear a message on radio or television, contact your county's emergency management office.
  • Regularly scheduled siren testing takes place on Wednesdays and our announced ahead of time. Additional testing may occur at other times as part of ongoing maintenance.
  • To alert people indoors, radio and television stations will carry emergency information messages from local officials. Follow their instructions. Stay tuned. Remember, outdoor sirens will not necessarily be heard inside homes or businesses.
  • In an emergency, fire, police and rescue units may also patrol the affected area and sound their sirens, if necessary. Boaters also would be alerted via sirens, loudspeakers, etc.
  • Upon hearing a siren or emergency message, we also encourage people living in the 10-mile emergency planning zones to check with their neighbors to ensure they are aware of the situations – especially neighbors who may have special needs.
  • The following radio stations participate in Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages (other local radio and television stations may broadcast information and instructions in an emergency:
    • FM 107.9 WLNK (Charlotte)
    • FM 106.5 WEND (Salisbury)
    • NOAA Weather Radio (All Hazards)