NOAA radios needed for indoor weather warnings

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 14, 2007

Since the devastating tornado hit Enterprise, Ala., killing eight high school students, Crenshaw County Emergency Management Agency Director Jessica Tomlin has been inundated with calls from concerned citizens about the capabilities of the weather warning sirens within Crenshaw County.

Tomlin said that she wanted to thank everyone who had called the EMA office; otherwise, she might not have realized the misunderstanding about outdoor vs. indoor weather warning systems.

&#8220First of all, I want people to understand that the sirens are an outdoor warning system,” Tomlin said. &#8220Our sirens within the county meet FEMA regulations, which means that on a clear day, the warning tone will travel 1.17 miles, or 6,000 feet away. People must realize that this system is designed for the people who might be outside at the time damaging weather might occur.”

Crenshaw County presently has 17 outdoor weather warning sirens. They are located in or at the Petrey Community Center; Brantley School; the Bullock Fire Department; the Crenshaw County Board of Education; Dozier; Glenwood; the Helicon Community Center; Highland Home School; the Honoraville VFD; the Rutledge water tower; the Chapel Hill VFD; Panola; Patsburg; Vidette; Springhill; Walden's Farm on Highway 29, and Mt. Zion.

Tomlin said the EMA office was in the process of obtaining at least 10 more outdoor weather warning sirens, but, again, she emphasized the fact that these sirens were not meant to be used as indoor weather devices.

&#8220The best possible instrument that citizens can have for indoor/inside weather warnings is a NOAA weather radio,” Tomlin said.

NOAA stands for &#8220National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.”

Tomlin said that the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards is a service that is provided by all National Weather Service offices free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

&#8220This radio, for example, can be programmed to monitor the weather only in Crenshaw County and surrounding areas if that is what the homeowner wishes to hear,” she added.

&#8220It is the fastest, most reliable means of receiving information about life-threatening weather if you are indoors.”

Tomlin said that the NOAA weather radios can be purchased at Radio Shack in Luverne and at Southern Family Markets in Luverne for $29.99 plus tax. Anyone who purchases a NOAA radio is welcome to bring it by the EMA office to be programmed, Tomlin said.

The Crenshaw County EMA Office is located at 118 East 3rd Street in Luverne, between the Crenshaw County Courthouse and the Luverne Public Library.

For more information about the NOAA weather radios, contact Tomlin at 335-4538.