Hundreds of AlertFM radios available in Butte County


Hundreds of free early warning receivers are available to people who live in fire-prone areas of the unincorporated areas of Butte County such as Berry Creek, Stirling City, Magalia, Forest Ranch and Cohasset.

AlertFM keeps community members informed during a crisis—delivering life-saving alerts within seconds. 

The receivers do not depend on cell service or power, meaning that they still work when all other communication methods go down.

AlertFM uses overlapping signals from FM stations to transmit evacuation warnings, orders and other notices.

“When a message sends, only the receivers in the targeted area will be alerted,” explained Nicholas Fashing, Health and Human Services Program Analyst at DESS.

The Butte County Department of Employment and Social Services in coordination with the Butte County Sheriff’s Office has been distributing AlertFM radios since 2021 with a focus on ridge communities that are prone to fires and Public Safety Power Shutoffs.

“There is an emphasis on residents who are seniors, or disabled, or who require early alert for evacuation needs,” adds Fashing.

One thousand radios were distributed during the first program which was funded by PG&E. 

The second program—now underway—is thanks to a partnership between DESS and Magalia-based nonprofit Bare on the Ridge.

The partnership provided 586 AlertFM devices and 244 have been distributed so far.

This means that 342 free radios are still available to people who live in high fire risk areas.

Those who are interested can apply online or by calling 530-552-6887.