As a business that is active on social media, it is important to be up to speed with tragic events, natural disasters and emergencies that are going on in the US. This is because as a business during a tragic event you either want to cease your social activity to show respect or send out content that will be helpful and informative for your fans. If you aren’t aware of major things going on outside of your business, you may have backlash coming your way from your fans.

We also know that businesses are busy working, may not have access to the news and could be out of touch a little. The good news is, Twitter launched a feature called Twitter Alerts that will send accurate information directly to your phone from credible organizations regarding emergencies.

The tweets, which publish during a crisis or emergency, “contain up-to-date information relevant to an unfolding event, such as public safety warnings and evacuation instructions,” according to the Twitter Help Center.

Here’s how to set up and start receiving Twitter alerts:Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 4.25.25 PM

Once you’ve signed into Twitter, you simply will need to head to the Alerts setup page for the specific organizations you’d like to receive updates from in an emergency.

You can find this page by adding “/alerts” to the organization’s Twitter URL. For example, the American Red Cross’ Alerts page can be found at

Click on the blue box that says, “Activate Alerts from @AccountName.” If you haven’t linked a mobile phone number to your Twitter account, you’ll be prompted to do so here.  Adding a phone number and activating Twitter text messaging means you will be able to receive alerts via SMS.

In addition, Alerts will appear highlighted in your Home timeline. If you are using the official Twitter for iPhone or Twitter for Android apps, you’ll also get alerts as push notifications.

Here is a list of organizations participating in Twitter Alerts in the United States:

  • American Red Cross
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Land Management: National Interagency Fire Center
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency 
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency: En Español
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Park Service: Fire and Aviation
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • US Department of State
  • US Department of Homeland Security
  • US Geological Survey
  • US Department of the Interior

For regional, international and global organizations that participate in the Twitter Alerts program, click here.