Raleigh, NC -- Need an unusual gift idea for someone hard to buy for?
Consider a gift of safety.
For example, a radio that switches automatically from silence to alarm in case of life-threatening situations near your particular location.
These radios are linked to a special weather radio network of 480 stations, which is provided as a public service by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A NOAA weather radio can be used for routine weather news, but can also be left in alarm mode-silent, but turning on automatically at any time in case of a nearby flood, tornado, hurricane, chemical release, oil spill, or any other potentially threatening disaster.
Why is that important? Sometimes, weather can turn deadly very fast. Tornadoes are the best example. Tornadoes can strike when people are sleeping or unaware of the forecast, and they can be deadly if people do not have time to get to shelter, such as a basement or an in-house safe room. But people with a NOAA weather radio will be alerted to dangerous weather in time to take shelter.
The radios can be programmed to get information for particular locations, a feature called Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME).
Most run on batteries or have battery back-up. They can be taken along when traveling, boating or camping.
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, at marine supply stores and truck stops, or through cable shopping networks, mail order catalogs and the Internet. Costs range from $20 to $80 depending on the model.
Other emergency and preparedness items that might make great gifts this holiday season include:
- Smoke detectors
- Appropriate fire extinguishers (kitchen, garage, car)
- Disaster kits for homes, offices and autos (first aid kits, food, water and prescription medications for 72 hours, extra clothing, blankets, flashlights)
- Foldable ladders for second-story escape in a fire
- Car kits (emergency flares, shovels, ice scrapers, flashlights and fluorescent distress flags)
- Pet disaster kits (food, water, leashes, dishes and carrying case or crate)
- A camp stove with extra fuel
- A yearlong flood insurance policy (call your local agent, or find one who sells flood insurance by calling 1-800-427-4661, or TTY 1- 800-427-5593).
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.