WEATHER RADIO ALL HAZARDS: ON ALERT FOR ALL EMERGENCIES
15, 2006 — Saving lives is the focus of NOAA
Weather Radio All Hazards by providing immediate broadcasts of severe
weather warnings and civil emergency messages and giving those in harm’s
way critical lead time to respond and remain safe. Broadcasts of tornado
warnings, flood warnings,
AMBER Alerts for child abductions, chemical spill messages and many other
notifications, in addition to routine weather observations and forecasts,
make NOAA Weather Radio an essential item for every home, business and
Weather Radio All Hazards, a component of the nation's Emergency Alert
System, is comprised of a nationwide network of more than 970 transmitters
directly linked with one of the 123 local offices of NOAA’s
National Weather Service, which issues weather warnings and relays
civil emergency messages on behalf of law enforcement agencies. NOAA Weather
Radio is provided as a public service by the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S.
Department of Commerce.
of NOAA Weather Radio
Tone Alarm: Special tones precede
the initial broadcast of all emergency announcements regarding immediate
weather threats and civil emergency messages to gain a listener’s
attention. These tones will also activate radios that are on alert mode,
yet silent. This feature is especially crucial when severe storms or
other events occur at night when most people are sound asleep.
Size: Units are small (about the
size of a clock radio) and require little space on a nightstand or table.
They travel easily (vacations, relocations) and will use the signal
from a nearby transmitter.
Battery Backup: Ensures continued
service during a loss of electricity, which can disable the warning
capabilities of television and the Internet.
Customization: Most models featuring SAME (Specific
Area Message Encoding) technology can be programmed to sound only select
alerts for select areas—in essence, blocking undesired messages,
especially those that apply outside the local area.
Accessories: Many radios allow customization
for an external antenna to improve reception; and for devices for the
hearing or visually impaired, such as strobe lights, pagers, or bed
carrying the Public Alert logo meet certain performance criteria including
SAME and a battery backup.
NOAA Weather Radios
Units that receive the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards signal
are available at many electronic retail stores, marine supply stores,
mail order catalogs and the Internet. Prices vary by model and available
options, but typically range between $20 and $80.
NOAA Weather Radio Success Stories
Severe weather raking parts of Mississippi on April
6, 2005, prompted NOAA’s National Weather Service to issue
a tornado warning for Smith
County. In the tornado’s path was the Mize Attendance Center
(a Kindergarten through 12th grade complex). Alan Gerard, warning coordination
meteorologist with NOAA’s National Weather Service in Jackson,
Miss., said “the school principals received the tornado warning
via NOAA Weather Radio. Once the warning was issued, they activated
their emergency plan, which included getting all of the students on
the upper level down into the lower level interior hallways.”
While the tornado tore off the building’s roof and damaged the
upper floor and windows, there were no injuries among
the 650 students.
F. Johnson Elementary School in Endicott, N.Y., reaped the benefits
of NOAA Weather Radio on June
6, 2005. Thunderstorm winds of up to 70 mph tore the roof off of
the kindergarten wing and devastated the building. The National Weather
Service office in Binghamton, N.Y., issued a severe thunderstorm warning
22 minutes before the storm struck the school. The warning activated
the alarm on the school’s All Hazards receiver and gave school
officials enough time to evacuate 340 students, faculty, and staff to
designated “storm-safe” areas. “Over 20 minutes of
advanced warning allowed us to execute our severe weather safety plan,
which in turn saved lives and prevented injuries,” said William
Tomic, principal of Charles F. Johnson Elementary School.
When an AMBER Alert, relayed by the Illinois State Police in August
2006, was broadcast over NOAA Weather Radio, it triggered the Emergency
Alert System and the alert was transmitted to commercial radio stations.
Listening to the radio at the time, the suspect described in the alert
heard the message, contacted the authorities and turned himself in.
- When John
Norwood, employee at the Mohon International casework manufacturing
plant in Paris, Tenn., heard a tornado warning over NOAA Weather Radio
All Hazards on November 15, 2005 he wasted no time in warning the plant.
The warning was issued 13 minutes before a strong F2 tornado touched
down five miles southwest of Paris. Several more life-saving minutes
would pass before it ripped into the Mohon plant. By that time, Plant
Safety Officer Revita Walker had already taken action, thanks to the
early warning. “I got on the public address system and made the
announcement to head to the storm shelters. There was a good 10 minutes
to spare and some people didn’t really believe it - because the
tornado wasn’t right on top of us,”
said Walker. When the tornado struck, approximately 250 employees were
huddled in the plant’s pre-designated safe areas. Walker added,
“I heard the roof coming off and things started flying.”
Early warning and NOAA Weather Radio, combined with the plant’s
emergency preparedness planning, undoubtedly saved many lives that day.
- An AMBER
Alert issued in Texas following the kidnapping of a 14-year-old girl
from Nevada in October 2002 was heard by a truck driver over NOAA Weather
Radio All Hazards. The driver spotted the white pickup truck described
in the alert and dialed 911. Officers from Atascosa County, Texas, responded
and pulled over the pickup truck. The kidnapped child was found inside,
in good condition, and the two suspects
were placed in custody.
tornado warning heard over NOAA Weather Radio activated the severe weather
plan of the Parsons
Manufacturing plant near Roanoke,
Ill., on July
13, 2004. Timely warning of an approaching severe thunderstorm and
the tornado it produced and the foresight of the plant owner in developing
and implementing a severe weather plan gave workers extra minutes to
take shelter before an F-4
tornado demolished the 250,000- square-foot plant. Not
a single injury was suffered by any of the more than 140 employees.
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Expand Life-Saving NOAA Weather Radio Coverage
National Weather Service Public Affairs, (301) 713-0622