BTV Community Alerts


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The City's priority is to help keep you safe and informed. That's why we're broadening our use of the State's VT-Alert system to send rapid notifications about urgent local issues. This is a powerful tool –  but in order for it to work, we need you to sign up! Click on the "Sign up for VT-Alert" tile above to be redirected to the State sign up portal.

Users who are signing up for VT-Alert will be guided through a process to create an account, input your contact information in order of preference, and identify categories of interest. If you input a Burlington address you’ll automatically be signed up for the most critical level of notifications, like boil water advisories and major storm preparations, and you can also opt-in to other categories, like beach closures and snow bans. If you don’t have a Burlington address but still want to receive city notifications, you can check the box for “City of Burlington alerts.” The entire process takes less than five minutes, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Some other highlights about this system:

  • You can sign up to receive alerts by call, text, or email

  • You can set quiet hours to limit any overnight notifications

  • You do not need to live in Burlington to sign up.

  • VT-Alert is provided at no cost to our community

  • You can sign up for any or all categories. You can also sign up for multiple addresses to get location-specific notifications, such as your residence, your place of business, or a relative's house

We still advise you to contact emergency services at 911 or the Department of Public Works for specific questions or if you are ever unsure about what to do. We will only be using this service for key urgent issues.

How VT-Alert Works

VT-Alert is a powerful tool. By using it, the City will be able to contact users who sign up with texts, calls, and emails, for certain types of categories that users select. These notifications will be limited to public safety or public health concerns. VT-Alert allows users to choose whether they prefer text, call, or email, or all of the above, and users can unsubscribe at any time. The system also allows users to set quiet hours to limit any overnight notifications. The City has previously used VT-Alert only in a limited way, and primarily as one of the systems for snow ban notification. For certain types of emergencies, the system also has the capability of alerting residents who did not opt-in to VT-Alert.

For the following categories, any user who signs up for VT-Alert and inputs a Burlington address, or signs up for “City of Burlington Alerts," will receive an alert:

  • Boil water advisory
  • Do not drink water order (should such a requirement occur)
  • 911 phone system failure
  • Opening of cooling centers during extreme heat
  • Emergency Operations Center (EOC) activation
  • Evacuation
  • Major storm preparation
  • Other significant fire or emergency

For the following categories of lesser urgency, users will specifically need to opt-in to the “City of Burlington Alerts” category within the VT-Alert system, and also select the relevant sub-category:

  • Snow bans
    • Users who want to sign up for this category should select both “City of Burlington” and “Transportation alerts > Winter parking bans”
    • The City will continue to use both GovDelivery and VT-Alert for snow ban notification through this winter, but will discontinue use of GovDelivery for snow ban notification after April 2020
  • Beach closures
    • Users who want to sign up for this category should select both “City of Burlington” and “Health alerts > Beach closures”
  • Major road arterial closures related to construction
    • Users who want to sign up for this category should select both “City of Burlington” and “Transportation alerts > Road closures, disruptions, and delays”
  • Operation Clean Sweep
    • Users who are signed up at a specific Burlington address will receive two texts/emails during Clean Sweep. One will be a general notification about one week ahead of the start of Clean Sweep. The second notification will be on your address's day of sweeping (approximately 6 hours before enforcement begins).

In addition, VT-Alert will also allow the City to send some location-specific notifications. The City plans to use these to alert impacted areas of water main breaks during business hours. To sign up for these, users can input a specific address upon sign-up or later, and select “City of Burlington” and “Infrastructure > Water system outage.”

As the City continues to use the VT-Alert system, it may add additional categories and uses. Users should also note that at this time, the City does not plan to use all of the categories that are preset in the VT-Alert system, such as the “planned events” category.


We’re broadening our use of this tool in response to a situation we faced in summer 2019, where we had to issue a precautionary boil water advisory in parts of the South End. That experience made us realize that we needed a better, more coordinated system to rapidly communicate with Burlingtonians when urgent issues arise. We have learned from that incident, and we’re glad to be expanding our use of this alert system to have for needs in the future.



Robert Goulding
    Public Information Manager, DPW, 802-863-9094