Warning Systems

Tornado

The majority of the public does not prepare for most disaster situations and may feel at risk, frightened or confused.

The Office of Emergency Management uses several methods to distribute Emergency Information to the Community. Providing timely information to the public can help save lives and property, speed recovery and results in less confusion and fewer rumors.

In this section you will find information on how you can stay informed in times of crisis as well as assist Emergency Responders help you.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO

NWR is a nationwide network of radio stations that broadcast continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service (NWS) office. NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

NWR also works with the FCC’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) to be an “all-hazards” radio network, making it a single source for emergency information. In conjunction with Federal, State and local public safety officials and emergency managers, NWR can broadcast warning and post-event information about all types of hazards – natural (such as winter storms or flash flood), environmental (such as a chemical spill), or public safety (such as an AMBER alert).

Here’s how it works. During an emergency, NWS sends a special tone that activates the weather radio in the affected area. When the weather radio is activated, an alarm tone sounds and then you will hear specific information about the potential or imminent hazard.

NOAA Weather radios are available at many retail outlets, including electronics, department, and sporting goods stores, as well as many grocery stores. They can also be purchased via the Internet from online retailers or directly from manufacturers. They are available with many different features, and can cost anywhere from $20 to $200. A few of the more useful features include:

  • Tone alarm: The alarm tone will activate for watch and warning messages even if the receiver is turned off.
  • S.A.M.E. technology: Specific Alert Message Encoding allows you to specify the area for which you would like to receive alerts. Without this feature, you may hear watches and warnings for several counties. With this feature, you will hear messages only about the areas you have selected.
  • Battery backup: This feature is useful since power outages often accompany severe weather. It is recommended that you use the AC power under normal conditions, however, in order to preserve battery life.

For more information, and to program your weather radio, go to http://www.weather.gov/nwr/.

EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM (EAS)

Formally called the Emergency Broadcast System, EAS transmits national, state and local emergency warning information over television and radio stations. It is designed to automatically break into regular programming to provide guidance to your specific viewing area. NOAA Weather radios are available at many retail outlets, including electronics, department, and sporting goods stores, as well as many grocery stores.