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Every Home and Business Should Have a NOAA Weather Radio

Release date: 
October 19, 2011
Release Number: 

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The recent storms and flooding that have devastated many parts of Pennsylvania serve as a stark reminder of how important it is to be prepared when it comes to bad weather. One of the essential preparedness items you should have is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio.

A NOAA Weather Radio can help you monitor dangerous storms: it transmits alerts of severe weather and dangerous conditions before they arrive.

The National Weather Service (NWS) broadcasts forecasts and severe weather warnings and watches 24 hours a day over the NOAA radio network. A watch means that potentially life-threatening weather is heading toward your area. A warning means that potentially life-threatening weather is imminent or already occurring.

NOAA's radio system is an all-hazards system, providing watches and warnings for such incidents as floods, tornados, oil spills, 911 telephone outages, terrorist and AMBER alerts, as well as post-event information. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommend that every home and business have a NOAA Weather Radio receiver as standard equipment for around-the-clock reports.

Weather radios are available at electronics stores at prices ranging from $20 to $200. Here are some features you should look for when purchasing one:

  • Alarm tone - This allows the radio to be set on silent but produces 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 affect your immediate area.
  • Hand crank or battery operated - A radio should be able to operate on batteries or be hand-cranked to produce operating power.
  • Tunable to all NWS frequencies - Visit for frequencies.
  • For those with a hearing impairment - A feature that allows radios to connect the alarms to other attention-getting devices such as personal computers and text printers.

More information is available online at

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:16