City expands ReadyPhiladelphia public alert program

A person photographs the Schuylkill River’s floodwaters as they submerge Kelly Drive in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024.
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) has expanded the city’s free mass notification system, ReadyPhiladelphia. Serving residents and businesses alike in the City of Brotherly Love, ReadyPhiladelphia is now available in 11 different languages, including American Sign Language.

Delivering emergency and important information directly from the City of Philadelphia and other official sources, ReadyPhiladelphia provides updates, including severe weather forecasts, evacuation instructions, major travel disruptions, and more.

Twenty-four percent of Philadelphians speak a language other than English, and over 11-percent have limited English ability, while nearly 13-percent are bilingual in English and any other language, according to Philadephia’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, with statistics sourced from the American Community Survey.

“Philadelphia is a City of Neighborhoods and diversity throughout its streets shapes its vibrant character,” said Dominick Mireles, Director, Office of Emergency Management, in a statement. “Together, we are stronger. I’m proud to say that delivering emergency messaging and reaching more residents is another step towards serving the community as a whole and ensuring access for all to this critical city service.”

To ensure Philadelphia’s diverse population receives these critical messages, the OEM has improved ReadyPhiladelphia to deliver emergency alerts in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese, Swahili, Simplified Chinese, Arabic, Russian, and American Sign Language.

Thanks to grant funding awarded to OEM through the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer’s Operations Transformation Fund, this expansion project was made possible. This project is part of a larger plan to expand public alert and warning capabilities.

“I applaud the Office of Emergency Management’s vision and leadership in expanding language access for emergency messages. In an emergency, every minute counts, and having critical information in a language a resident is most comfortable with will save lives,” said Amy Eusebio, Executive Director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs. “Furthermore, this expansion of this critical program is another example of why Philadelphia is welcoming: We continuously create policies and programs that support and strengthen immigrant inclusion.”

A certified Deaf Interpreter from the Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre communicates all ASL-interpreted messages. Throughout the project, the community was consulted with a focus group hosted by Liberty Resources, Southeastern Pennsylvania’s local Center for Independent Living. All English pre-scripted alerts will feature linked videos in ASL to reach people who are d/Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing and live, work, or visit Philadelphia, according to OEM.

If you would like to register for free alerts, you can create an account with ReadyPhiladelphia by visiting the Office of Emergency Management’s website,