MONTGOMERY, AL - Recent spring storms and the damage they caused serve as constant reminders of the importance of being prepared when it comes to bad weather. One of the most essential preparedness items your family can have is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio. A weather radio will alert you to severe weather and dangerous conditions before they arrive. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency recommend that all homes and businesses have a weather radio.
The NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting weather information direct from National Weather Service (NWS) offices across the country. Warnings are sent 24 hours a day following an alarm tone alerting listeners. Broadcasts are also translated to serve the Spanish-speaking population.
Weather radios are available at electronics stores across the country and at prices ranging from $25 to $100 or more. Here are some features you should look for when purchasing one:
- Alarm tone - this allows the radio to be on but silent, allowing for a special tone to alert you to severe weather.
- Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) - this feature provides area specific information by filtering out alerts that do not impact your immediate area.
- Battery operated - since there will be times when electrical power is unavailable, a radio should be able to operate on batteries.
- Tunable to all NWS frequencies - for the latest list of frequencies visit www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr
- For the hearing and visually impaired - this allows radios to connect the alarms to other attention getting devices like personal computers and text printers.
In addition to keeping you informed about severe weather, a weather radio can also alert you to man-made disasters, such as chemical releases or oil spills.
More information is available online at www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr.