MADISON, Wis. -- The severe storms, tornadoes and flooding earlier this month and the damage they caused serve as reminders of the importance of being prepared when it comes to bad weather. One of the essential preparedness items your family should 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. Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommend that all homes and businesses have a weather radio.
NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting weather information directly from National Weather Service (NWS) offices across the country. Warnings are sent 24 hours a day following an alarm tone alerting listeners. Broadcasts also are translated to serve the Spanish-speaking population.
Weather radios are available at electronic, home-improvement and department stores throughout the state at prices ranging from $25 to more than $100. 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 - 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 those with hearing impairments - this allows radios to connect the alarms to other attention-getting devices such as personal computers and text printers.
In addition to keeping you informed about severe weather, a weather radio also can alert you to man-made disasters, such as chemical releases.
More information is available online at www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.