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Frequently Asked Questions About the FEMA Mobile App

The FEMA App is your personalized disaster resource, so you feel empowered and ready to take charge of any disaster life throws your way.

Changes to App Alerts

Common Questions

Changes to App Alerts

What is happening to weather alerts in the FEMA App? 

Due to a change that NWS is making to its weather alert feed after July 20, 2023, in which the agency will no longer send alerts that do not rise to the level of a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) to the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), the FEMA App will not be able to deliver non-WEA level weather alerts to its users temporarily. FEMA’s app team is working on a new version of the app that will add non-WEA level weather alerts back. 

Why was this change made without warning? 

NWS alerted its stakeholders of this change via a Service Change Notice the evening of July 19. On July 21, FEMA promptly alerted its app users of the change after we assessed the potential impact to our app users. We understand that this update has caused some inconvenience to app users and are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible. FEMA believes that by providing app users with clear and timely communication, we can help minimize any disruption caused by changes to our app.   

Will FEMA App users get any weather alerts? 

After July 20, app users will still get the urgent and most severe weather alerts for the alert locations they’ve set up through the app. App users are able to sign up for alerts for up to five locations. Additionally, any mobile device user with WEA enabled on their device will receive WEA alerts sent from local alerting authorities, regardless of whether they have the FEMA app downloaded. 

What types of weather alerts will no longer be sent through the FEMA App and what types will be sent? 

Certain types of less urgent alerts, such as storm watches and warnings that do not rise to the level of a dangerous and critical threat, will not be sent through the FEMA App temporarily. The FEMA App team is working on an update to the app that will add less critical weather alerts back as soon as possible. 

Where does the FEMA App currently get its alerts from? 

The FEMA App currently uses the public data feed available through IPAWS. This feed contains official safety messages and emergency alerts sent from alerting authorities across the country, including NWS.  

How will FEMA let users know when this issue has been resolved?  

FEMA will continue to communicate anticipated changes to app users within the app through messages displayed on the app home screen. Additionally, FEMA will share information about app changes through its website and social media accounts. We are committed to making sure that the full suite of alerts is up and running as soon as possible. We appreciate app users’ patience and encourage them to reach out to us if they have any questions or concerns at fema-app@fema.dhs.gov.   

How can FEMA app users get alerts in the meantime? 

It’s important to stress that urgent emergency alerts will still be delivered through the FEMA App for all locations that people have signed up to receive alerts for. We always encourage everyone to have multiple ways to get emergency alerts as well. You can sign up for alerts with your local emergency management office and also follow your local National Weather Service office on social media. Learn more about ways to get alerts on Ready.gov.  

Answers to Common Questions

How can I download the FEMA App?

The FEMA App is available for both Android and iOS.  You can download the FEMA App on Google Play and on the Apple App Store.  

You can also download the app via text messaging. On an Android device, text ANDROID to 43362 (4FEMA); On an Apple Device, text APPLE to 43362 (4FEMA).

Is the FEMA App free to download?

Yes, the FEMA App is free to use and download. Please note that if you download the app via text messaging, standard message and data rates apply.

How can I change my main location in the app?

You can update your main location in the FEMA App by:

  1. Open Settings and select Your Main Location.
  2. Delete your old location.
  3. Enter your new main location and select it. 
  4. Tap the Back arrow or Close button to save your new main location.

Why hasn't the updated FEMA app installed on my device yet?

Please note: The updated app will only support iOS 11.0 or later and Android 5.0 or later. 

Apple and Google Play app stores automatically update apps by default, unless you have turned off automatic updates in your settings.  App stores typically check for app updates once a day, so it can take up to 24 hours before the FEMA app update is added to the update queue. 

If the FEMA app has not automatically updated yet, please check that the following constraints are met:

  • The device is connected to a Wi-Fi network and/or cellular data network.
  • The device is charging and/or battery is almost full. If device is in Low Power Mode it may not update.
  • The device is idle (not actively used).
  • The FEMA app is not running in the foreground.

Can I apply for assistance in the app?

No, you cannot apply for Individual Assistance on the FEMA App at this time.  The FEMA App includes links to apply for assistance. Clicking on those links will direct you to DisasterAssistance.gov where you can apply for assistance on their mobile website.

Can I receive weather and emergency alerts for more than one location?

Yes, you can sign up to receive weather and emergency alerts for up to five locations on the FEMA App.

Can I customize my alerts so that I only get notified for certain alert types?

Yes, you can customize your alert preferences, so you only receive alerts that care about most.

  1. Open Settings and select More Settings > Alerts.
  2. Select a location.
  3. Tap Customize Preferences.
  4. Toggle ON or OFF to customize your alert preferences.
  5. Tap the Back arrow or Close button to save your alert preferences.

How can I find an emergency shelter with the mobile app?

Finding a shelter is critical for safety during or after a disaster.  You can find a listing of active emergency shelters in the Recover section of the FEMA App. 

  1. Open the app and select Recover from the footer navigation.
  2. Tap on Find an Emergency Shelter.
  3. Select a location to pull up driving directions.

Similarly, you can text SHELTER and your ZIP code to 43362 (e.g. Shelter 12345) to receive up to three active emergency shelters closest to you.

Who can I contact for assistance with the app?

For app suggestions and/or technical assistance, please contact the app team at fema-app@fema.dhs.gov.

For help applying for Individual Assistance, please contact AskIA@fema.dhs.gov.

How is the information I provide in the app used? Is it shared with third parties?

The information that you provide in the app is to create a personalized and welcoming experience. The FEMA app does not collect or track any personally identifiable information.  The data is not linked to you.

The FEMA App does not share data with any third-party service.  The app does collect usage and diagnostic data. This data is not linked to your identity.

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Return to the main FEMA App page, including links to download on Android and Apple devices.