Get Your Family Prepared with a NOAA Weather Radio
Georgia Severe Weather Awareness Week: Feb. 1 is Family Preparedness Day
(ATLANTA) As Severe Weather Awareness Week kicks off in Georgia, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and the National Weather Service are asking families across the state to use Feb. 1 to get prepared for severe weather by programming a NOAA Weather Radio on Family Preparedness Day.
"NOAA Weather Radios are as crucial to family safety as smoke detectors or alarm systems," said Charley English, director of GEMA/Homeland Security. “These life-saving devices alert you immediately with severe weather or emergency information, when minutes or even seconds count, day or night. This early warning can be the difference between life and death.”
NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information direct from a nearby National Weather Service office. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts National Weather Service watches, warnings, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day.
The receivers come in many sizes and have a variety of different features. Some weather radios are equipped with a special tone feature, which can sound an alert and give households immediate information about potentially life threatening situations. During an emergency, the National Weather Service will interrupt routine weather radio programming and send out a special tone that activates weather radios in the warning area. The National Weather Service will issue a statewide tornado drill on Feb. 3.
A good receiver should be able to operate on batteries if the power goes out. Look for radios with an AC adapter and battery compartment. It also is recommended that you select a model with a Specific Area Message Encoder (SAME) receiver that can be set up to only sound for a single county. That way, you will hear the tone only when severe weather is headed directly for where you live.
In Georgia, there are 29 transmitters broadcasting throughout the state. Seven frequencies are reserved for NOAA Weather Radio on the public service band. These frequencies range between 162.400 megahertz and 162.550 megahertz. Broadcast range is approximately 40 miles, but the effective range depends on terrain, quality of the receiver and indoor/outdoor antennas.
Today, approximately 98 percent of Georgia's population lives within range of a NOAA Weather Radio transmitter. This figure represents a 58 percent increase from ten years ago.
"Signal reception is almost 100 percent statewide, so if you don't have a weather radio in your home, let Severe Weather Awareness Week be a reminder to buy one and program it correctly," urged English. “Get the entire family involved in the process so everyone knows what to listen for and how to react.”
According to GEMA’s statewide emergency preparedness campaign Ready Georgia, families should get ready for severe weather by taking three simple steps: prepare a Ready kit of emergency supplies, establish an emergency communications plan and stay informed about severe weather events.
Ready Georgia offers online planning tools that generate customized Ready kit checklists and personalized communications plans. The campaign’s Web site also has information about possible emergency situations in Georgia and contact information for local emergency management personnel.# # #
About Ready Georgia
Ready Georgia is a statewide campaign designed to educate and empower Georgians to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, pandemic outbreaks, potential terrorist attacks and other large-scale emergencies. The campaign is a project of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and provides a local dimension to Ready America, a broader national campaign. Ready Georgia aims to prepare citizens for maintaining self-sufficiency for at least 72 hours following an emergency, and uses an interactive Web site, online community toolkit, broadcast and print advertising and public awareness media messaging to reach its audiences. Ready Georgia is also on Facebook and YouTube.