Weather radios, those little devices that warn you of approaching danger are fast catching on with many consumers, yet myths persist about them — how they work and why the National Weather Service (NWS) wants to see one in every household.
Weather radios have been around for a few years, but the new generation of units bears little resemblance to those of years past.
The NWS and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are both promoting the value of weather radios, for business, travel, and the home.
For starters, weather radios are designed to receive the NWS signal that alerts users of storms or civil emergencies. It’s the civil emergency capability that has a lot of people talking now, especially in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Weather radios receive the same signal that local TV and radio stations receive, but you don’t have to have the radio or TV on to hear the warning. A weather radio works like a smoke detector, setting off an alarm to give users time to take appropriate action in the event of a tornado, flood, chemical spill or a terrorist attack.
A number of manufacturers offer weather radios and are generally available online, however, they are sometimes hard to find in retail stores, though that is starting to change.
OOIDA members’ program benefits drivers and association
OOIDA members can purchase top-quality weather radios at low prices through a special program with WeatherRadios.com, a Project Impact National Partner with FEMA.
WeatherRadios is part of ShareCom Inc., the market leader in designing and manufacturing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio and Disaster Readiness electronics products.
Products available at a special OOIDA page at www.weatherradios.com/ooida include the WRP-50 NOAA Weather Radio, with a special OOIDA member price of $49.95, a $30 savings over the regular price. All products are available for purchase via its e-commerce web site. The WRP-50 joins a growing line of weather radios suitable for the home, office or on the road.
“The WRP-50 fills the need for a low-cost model that can make it easier for every OOIDA member to have a weather radio in their home,” says Tom Wetzel, director of marketing for WeatherRadios.com.
ShareCom manufactures products expressly designed to support the in-place NOAA Weather Radio Network, a 24/7 broadcast network that covers 95 percent of the United States. This early warning network provides weather information and alerts for hazardous weather or disaster warnings for people throughout the country.
“In light of the Sept. 11 attacks, people now recognize the importance of early warnings, and the WRP-50 ties you right in with a proven warning system that gives you time to get to a place of safety in the event of severe weather or civil defense emergency,” says Wetzel. “A weather radio works just like a smoke detector — alerting you of danger 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
ShareCom is working with a number of organizations, including FEMA, to promote the value of having a weather radio in homes, offices and meeting places.
For more information, visit www.weatherradios.com/ooida, or call 1-866-392-5378 and ask for your OOIDA member discount.
myths about weather radio
myth Weather radios pick up too many signals andend up going off too often to be effective.
Reality The NOAA Weather Radio Broadcast System reaches nearly 95 percent of the United States through 650 transmitters all across the nation. When weather radios were first introduced, it’s true, they would pick up every NWS signal within a hundred miles. New weather radios, however, have a feature called Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), which means you can customize a unit to sound off only in your immediate area.
myth They’re hard to use.
Reality Weather radios are as simple to use as a regular radio. With the push of a couple of buttons, you can customize it to beep only in your immediate area or to listen to a weather forecast.
myth You have to listen to constant weather reports, and who wants to do that?
Reality This is one of the biggest myths. A weather radio works like a smoke detector in that it goes off only when there is a watch or warning in your area. You don’t have to listen to weather reports at all unless you want to.
myth You can get the same information off the radio or TV.
Reality True, but only if you are listening or watching. What happens when you’re asleep, reading or doing other things? The nice thing is the weather radio alerts you whatever you’re doing, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
myth I can see weather developing in front of me, so I don’t need one.
Reality Drivers who listen to the radio continually may not need one when they’re driving, but do need one when they’re asleep to warn of approaching tornadoes, other severe storms and man-made accidents. Weather radios also are useful for the home.
myth They’re only good for weather.
Reality In fact, the NOAA Weather Radio Broadcast System is part of the national Emergency Alert System and is used for a wide variety of civil defense emergencies, including nuclear plant accidents, train derailments, chemical spills and hydroelectric dam breaks. Both the NWS and FEMA are on record with the hope that weather radios will become a fixture in every home, business and meeting place in America.