Birmingham, AL -- Father's Day is Sunday. If you're still shopping for the right gift, here's a suggestion: A weather radio.
This special radio broadcasts National Weather Service warnings and watches 24 hours a day. It provides useful information for protecting your family and loved ones. The weather radio sounds an alert to provide advance warnings of potential danger from floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and other severe weather conditions.
"When severe storms and tornadoes struck Alabama in May, weather radio alerts gave people time to seek shelter," said Perry Martin, of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and state coordinating officer for the disaster recovery.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the U.S. Department of Commerce provides the weather radio network as a public service.
"The radios can be programmed to receive information important to your location," said Gracia Szczech, of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the federal coordinating officer for the Alabama disaster recovery. "This feature is called SAME - for Specific Area Message Encoding."
You don't have to listen to it all the time but you do have to leave it on for the alarm tone. People with hearing or visual impairments can connect weather radio alarms to devices that can alert them with light or motion.
Weather radios are available at many retail stores that sell electronic appliances, marine supply stores, truck stops, cable shopping networks, mail order catalogs and the Internet. Their costs range from $20 to $80 depending on the model. Most run on batteries or have battery backup.
"It's a great gift any time of year and a super choice for dads and grads," Szczech said.