The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local News

November 28, 2012

Emergency Management Agencies to receive hazard alert radios

ANDERSON, Ind. — The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is partnering with local emergency management agencies to give away nearly 8,500 all-hazards alert radios to at-risk Hoosiers, according to an IDHS press release.

The radios have been distributed to Emergency Management Agencies across the state. Economically disadvantaged citizens, including residents of mobile homes, are being targeted to receive these radios.

“The advanced knowledge all-hazards alert radios provide about coming thunderstorms, floods, tornadoes and other dangerous weather conditions give residents warning to seek shelter before a storm,” said IDHS Executive Director Joe Wainscott. “We are pleased at the opportunity to again make this valuable early warning tool available to more Hoosiers who might not otherwise be able to afford it.”

The new radios feature Amber and Silver Alerts as well as weather alerts, said Anderson Fire Department battalion chief Larry Towne, making them even more beneficial.

“They’re very helpful in helping people stay in tune,” Towne said. “You never know who can be in the right place at the right time if one of those alerts come out. And the weather warning benefits are obvious. People need to be ready to take cover if necessary.”

Other targets of the program are critical facilities like nursing homes, hospitals and medical facilities, said Madison County Emergency Management Agency public information officer Todd Harmeson. Places where large numbers of people gather such as sporting events, schools, churches and public gatherings can also qualify to receive radios.

Mobile homes and similar structures offer minimal protection against severe weather and other life-threatening natural and man-made disasters, so frequently the best course of action is evacuation to a stronger, safer building such as a community center or other public facility, according to the release.

“We’re giving these out because of the need to have weather-alert warnings, especially where there are large groups of people,” Harmeson said.

Federal grant sources funded the purchase and distribution of these radios. The state’s Homeland Security has distributed more than 23,000 radios over the last four years and has provided weather radios to public schools in Indiana. IDHS has plans to continue the radio distribution in the future, according to the release.

“Most people consider the spring and summer months to be the most important months for weather emergencies, but everyone needs to know that emergencies can happen any time,” Harmeson said. “Especially as the weather gets colder, ice and snowstorms become an issue, and that’s when having a radio can help you find out about dangerous weather.”

Most all hazard radios require a Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) code number in order to limit the receipt of emergency messages to a specific geographic area.

Find Jack Molitor on Facebook and @J4keSteel on Twitter, or call 640-4883.

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