Emergency Alerts: Nixle & IPAWS

What is Nixle and why is it important to subscribe? 

Nixle sends email and text messages from public agencies that include public safety messages as well as emergency information. Evacuation instructions are issued through Nixle by the Napa County Sheriff’s Office and Office of Emergency Services, as well as by impacted municipalities.  Sign up at www.nixle.com

What kind of information does the County provide through Nixle? 

A number of agencies across Napa County utilize Nixle to provide information to the public. A list of those agencies and accounts is available here. The County of Napa maintains three Nixle accounts to provide information to the public and recommends subscribers opt in to receive alerts from each account. Accounts include:

  • Napa County Office of Emergency Services: information about extreme weather (ex: Red Flag Warnings, heat emergencies, Flash Flood Warnings, etc..), emergency events (including evacuation orders and warnings), public health and safety advisories
  • Napa County Sheriff’s Office: police activity, traffic accidents, road closures, and emergency information as necessary 
  • Napa County Public Works: utilized to communicate planned road closures (Ex: road work, marathon) 

Fire, law, and EMS agencies routinely respond to emergency events that do not result in a need for mass notification through Nixle. None of these accounts are intended to provide notification of all emergency events happening in the County.  

I want to get more notifications about emergency activities than the County currently provides through Nixle and social media. Are there any other tools I can use to get more up-to-date information? 

While Napa County Office of Emergency Services does not endorse any particular third party apps, there are a number of resources available online and through your phone’s app store that provide near real-time updates about emergency events as they are happening in the community.  

These apps notify subscribers of emergency calls and show maps of where the incident is occuring. Additionally, there are several emergency radio scanner apps exist that allow citizens to listen in to publicly-available emergency communications between law, fire, and EMS agencies. Scanner traffic is a direct source of information as it happens, but this information is always unconfirmed until it is shared through official channels. 

DISCLAIMER: These “real time” apps provide raw, unconfirmed information as events are unfolding. This information has often not been vetted for public release and should not be confused with official communication from public safety agencies.  For example, through radio scanner apps, response agencies may discuss potential for evacuation and evaluate expanding threats. This discussion does not constitute an official evacuation order or even indicate that an evacuation will be ordered; it may be a routine tactical discussion. Anyone tuning into a live scanner feed, or reading a transcription of a feed on social media, should not assume that everything they are hearing is accurate.  

Resources for maintaining additional situational awareness include but are not limited to:  

 Please listen and monitor responsibly. Stay tuned to official public safety channels (Nixle, as well as social media channels for Napa County, Napa County Sheriff’s Office, Napa County Fire Department, and other public safety agencies and municipalities) for official communication. 

How do I unsubscribe from Nixle? 

Log in here and click “Settings.” There you can adjust which messages you receive and on which device(s) you receive them. 

You also have the option to eliminate all SMS messages under the “Account” tab. 

Should you wish to completely unsubscribe, simply send an e-mail to [email protected] stating your desire to do so. You will be encouraged to review your settings prior to discontinuing service. 

Even after unsubscribing, you can still view Nixle information in real-time by visiting www.nixle.com

Will I be notified about evacuations from ZoneHaven or from Nixle?

The public can view evacuation information at community.zonehaven.com. The County will continue to provide notifications about evacuation orders and warnings, as well as shelter in place orders through Nixle. The map of evacuated areas will be displayed on community.zonehaven.com and this link will be provided in Nixle messages.  

How can I get Nixles sent to me as SMS texts instead of as emails?

Recently, NIXLE released a software change that only texts recipients with an advisory message if they do not have an email on file. If they do have an email on file, they will no longer get a text, only the email. NIXLE has provided FAQs for their software release they call “Smart Path".

To receive “advisory” type messages as SMS, rather than email, you can remove your email from your Nixle account. Log in here and click “Settings” to make this change to your account.  

What is the difference between Nixle and WEA/IPAWS? 

Wireless Emergency Alerts are a short text message designed to capture your attention. Emergency officials currently only have 90 characters for the message, so the messages are short and accompanied by an attention-grabbing tone. You do not need to subscribe to WEA or download an App. You do need to enable WEA notifications in the settings center of your phone such as the Government Alerts Section for Apple, or Wireless & Networks section-Cell Broadcasts settings in Android phones.

Nixle is a free emergency notification service that provides Napa County first responders and public agencies the ability to notify residents and businesses by mobile phone, text message, email and social media regarding local emergencies. You need to sign up to receive Nixle messages and you can edit your notification settings to choose how you want to receive the information, whether it’s over your cell phone by text message, by email or over the web (or all the above). 

How can I get Nixle Alerts in another language? 

To receive Nixle messages in Spanish, text ESP to 888-777. 

Can I provide feedback to the County about what is written in a Nixle? 

The County’s Office of Emergency Services welcomes feedback about how to improve the clarity and accuracy of emergency communication. If you have additional questions or comments about the content of Nixle messages, send an email to [email protected].  

Nixle customer service is available to answer questions about accounts or notification settings at 1-877-NIXLE-SD or e-mail [email protected]

General Information on the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS)

During an emergency, alert and warning officials need to provide the public with life-saving information quickly. IPAWS is a modernization and integration of the nation’s alert and warning infrastructure, and will save time when time matters most, protecting life and property.  Watch a video about IPAWS.