Do You Know How Emergency Personnel Will Notify You
When There’s an Emergency?
When disaster strikes, information is a two-way street. Authorities will be trying to reach you, but you’ve got to help them do so. Communities may use different methods of communication, from low-tech approaches (sirens, loudspeakers mounted on poles and police cruisers outfitted with bullhorns) to sophisticated systems (automated telephone-alert networks that dial 2,000 households per minute with messages and instructions). Some communities issue a text message to cell phones, pagers, or other devices. The Federal government is working on similar technology for national emergencies.
The Emergency Alert System – a national public warning system better know for that piercing test tone over radios and televisions – sends information over major television and radio networks. So, don’t forget your battery-powered or hand-cranked radio or television!
A more targeted technology is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) weather radio, sometimes generically called a “tone alert” radio. The NOAA broadcasts forecasts and warnings for dangerous weather, natural hazards, such as earthquakes, and dangerous incidents, such as chemical spills, 24 hours a day from almost 1,000 transmitters across the country. When one of these events threatens your local area, the system sends a signal that activates your NOAA radio to sound an alarm tone. After the alarm, the NOAA will broadcast a message with information and instructions to safeguard you and your loved ones.
Find out in advance which method your community uses. If it offers special services, such as text messaging, sign up for those services. If they broadcast community specific information over a particular radio station, mark that station on your radio dial. During a disaster, turn on your television or radio. Also, consider purchasing a NOAA radio. It’s a great resource if disaster strikes in the middle of the night.