Written by Pierce Legeion
Last updated on May 13, 2013 @ 1:39PM
Created on May 13, 2013 @ 10:59AM
Spring is severe weather season here in the Mountain State. If the weather we’ve seen the past year has taught us anything, it’s that being prepared ahead of time can definitely pay off. But many homes still don’t have one vital piece of equipment that could end up being a life saver.
"So, do you guys have a NOAA weather radio in your home?"
"No" says Jamie, a local homeowner.
"Ok. So how do you guys typically hear about severe thunderstorm watches and warnings or tornado watches and warnings?"
"Mostly just on the television from local broadcasting" says Jesse, a local homeowner.
In fact, it's estimated that only 5% of homes nationwide actually have a NOAA weather radio. The reason:
"NOAA Weather Radio seems to be getting lost as the years go by because people simply don't know about it" explains Nick Webb, a general forecaster with the National Weather Service in Charleston.
But what happens when the cell phones, computers, and TVs we rely on so much for information go down during a power or communications outage after a storm? This is where NOAA weather radio comes in.
"It has the ability to tone an alert. By having that radio in your house, it increases the chance that you'll hear the warning when the tone goes off" says Nick Webb with the NWS in Charleston.
When other forms of communication fail, NOAA Weather Radio carries on.
"We have generators on them for the most part...they're pretty reliable" says Nick Webb in talking about the radio towers that broadcast NOAA weather radio across the region.
You can pick up a radio for as little as $30. You'll want to make sure the one you buy is able to be programmed to receive weather alerts using Specific Area Messaging Encoding, or SAME, codes. You can find these codes on NOAA's website then check your radio's manual for instructions on how to program it. A NOAA Weather Radio is just one important piece of an emergency supply kit. Some other basic items your kit should have include: Any medications you or your family need, a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, and food and water for you and your family for at least 3 days.
So now that you have your emergency supply kit ready to go, you’ll want to make sure it's in your home’s safe place so that it's easily accessible the next time you have to take shelter from a storm.
Not sure where your safe place is? Join me next week. I'll take you inside several area homes, and show you how to find the safest place to take shelter from a storm. For 5 News, I’m meteorologist Pierce Legeion.
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