When the Enterprise goes to yellow alert, what exactly does that mean? In the episode The Neutral Zone the ship goes to yellow alert - and then later the shields are raised. I was under the impression that yellow alert meant shields should be automatically raised?

What does yellow alert mean when it is called?

  • 5
    It's somewhere between condition green and red alert. I can activate it for you, but it will mean changing the lightbulb. – Valorum Nov 2 '16 at 20:00
  • @Valorum hmm looking at this it looks like there is a scripting error in that episode – user46509 Nov 2 '16 at 20:03
  • 6
    The implication seems to be that shields are energised, but not necessarily raised. That fits nicely with what's seen in the episode. – Valorum Nov 2 '16 at 20:04
  • Copy paste, copy paste. Done – Valorum Nov 3 '16 at 0:38

According to the TNG: Technical Manual, when a "Yellow Alert" is called, a considerable number of things happen.

During Yellow Alert condition, all active bridge stations are automatically brought to Full Enable Mode. Auto diagnostics (Level 4) are initiated for all primary and tactical systems Ops is responsible for evaluating all current operations and shipboard activities and suspending any that may interfere with ship's readiness to respond to potential crisis situations


Yellow and Red Alert protocols call for cross-trained personnel with noncritical primary assignments to be available for their secondary assignments as necessary.


Yellow and Red Alert operating rules generally require the presence of at least two command personnel, in addition to Conn and Ops.


All on-duty crew and attached personnel are informed of the potential crisis via panel display and are directed to prepare for possible emergency action. Second shift crew personnel are also alerted and those in key operational positions are directed to prepare for possible duty on five minutes' notice. Cross-trained second shift personnel are directed to prepare for possible duty in their secondary assignments. Specific systems preparations include:

  • Level 4 automated diagnostic series run on all ship's primary and tactical systems to determine ship's current readiness status.

  • If presently off-line, warp power core brought to full operating condition and maintained at 20% power output. Level 4 diagnostics provide a status report on warp capability including maximum available engine output.

  • Main impulse propulsion system brought to full operating condition. At least one backup reactor element is brought to hot standby. In Yellow Alert status triggered by potential hostile action, Saucer Module impulse propulsion system is brought to partial standby.

  • All tactical and long-range sensor arrays are brought to full operational status. Secondary mission use of any sensor elements can be overridden if required by bridge.

  • Deflector systems brought to full standby. Secondary deflector generators brought to partial standby. All operational backup generators are energized to partial readiness.

  • Phaser banks are energized to partial standby. Power conduits are enabled, and targeting scanners are activated. Level 4 automated diagnostics verify operational status.

  • Photon torpedo launchers are brought to partial stand-by. One torpedo device is energized to partial launch readiness and primed with a standard antimatter charge, unless specifically overridden by Ops or Tactical. Level 4 automated diagnostics confirm operational status.

  • The Battle Bridge is brought to partial standby status and backup bridge crews are notified for possible duty in the event of possible Saucer sep maneuvers.

  • Two of the three shuttlebays are brought to launch readiness. The number of shuttlecraft at launch readiness is maintained at one.

  • Onboard sensors record the location of all personnel and alert Security of any anomalous activity. Location and activity information is recorded for postmission analysis.

  • Level 5 automated diagnostics are performed to verify readiness of autonomous survival and recovery vehicle systems (lifeboats).

Note that although secondary deflector systems (e.g. the "shields") are brought to readiness, calling a Yellow Alert doesn't automatically engage the shields at full power, an action that might seem, to an enemy, to be a provocative action.

  • On a related note, always wondered why Riker kept asking for the shields to be raised & weapons readied on a Red Alert. You'd think that was automatic. – Tim Nov 3 '16 at 0:54
  • 5
    @Tim - So that the audience know that the shields are raised and the weapons are readied. – Valorum Nov 3 '16 at 0:54
  • Because a Red Alert does not necessarily mean shields are activated. They are in standby mode to conserve power until the last possible second. – Thaddeus Howze Nov 3 '16 at 1:35

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