NARRATOR – Today, meteorologists can more accurately forecast tornadoes and severe weather than ever before. The public can have almost instant access to weather alerts and forecasts. But the National Weather Service still recommends a trusty device that’s been on electronics stores’ shelves for decades: NOAA weather radios.
JIM KRAMPER – We would love to see weather radios become like smoke detectors. Almost every house has smoke detectors now. We think weather radios should be the same way. They’re not that expensive. Once you have it, it’s going to last, probably for a lifetime.
NARRATOR – Kramper encourages everyone to follow the weather on television and other media, but a weather radio with an alert function will sound 24 hours a day. And overnight tornadoes are more dangerous and potentially deadly because people are often asleep and unaware of the threat.
KRAMPER – We always tell people, watch the media, listen to them and you’ll know what’s going on. At 2 in the morning, when you’re asleep, your television will not turn itself on by itself. A weather radio will set off an alarm to alert you that something is going on.
NARRATOR – Emergency managers regularly point to cases in which residents with weather radios were awakened and alerted to the danger, and took shelter, likely saving them and their families from injury or death.
NARRATOR – There’s another advantage to weather radios: When people take cover in the basement they often do not have access to their primary weather information source—the television. But you can take a portable weather radio with you.
KRAMPER – In some cases, people need to go take shelter, but their shelter is in the basement, and now they’ve got no other way to get information. Well, you take that radio downstairs with you, keep listening to it so you can continually get updated information to you as you need it.
NARRATOR – Weather radios are available at most electronics stores, starting at about 30 dollars. They broadcast the forecasts 24 hours a day, but the forecasts are interrupted during severe weather. Make sure to purchase a radio with the automatic alert feature, and correctly program it for alerts in your area.
NARRATOR – While Kramper strongly encourages every family to take advantage of a weather radio, he says in mobile homes, which are so vulnerable to tornadoes, they are essential. Understanding the value of weather alert radios is another part of being StormAware.