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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Emergency Alert System Codes

Operated by the National Weather Service, an agency of the NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration), continuous weather information is broadcast directly from local Weather Service Offices within the United States 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The broadcasts give forecasts, weather warnings and other hazard information via weather alert radios tuned to the VHF public service band that is found at certain frequencies (MHz). These broadcasts cannot be picked up on a normal AM/FM radio receiver. You therefore need a special receiver, a weather alert radio, every home should have one in areas where there is always a likelihood of severe weather.

There are some important things that you should know about emergency alert radios. Obviously it is of utmost importance that once you have your weather alert radio you quickly become familiar with the codes that are used in the broadcasts.

W - Warnings - This is an event that poses a profound threat to public safety and property. There is a high probability of an occurrence in that location and the threat will have a fairly short period of onset.

A - Watches - A watch meets the classifications of a warning. Only with a watch one of the following is undetermined: onset time, location, or likelihood of occurrence.

E - Emergencies - When there is an emergency the event itself is unlikely to kill, injure, or inflict property damage. However, the event may indirectly cause another occurrence that could cause a hazard. An example of this is the telephone or power in a large city is out. The event alone isn't a hazard. It could however cause a disruption in other critical services that could result in conditions that pose a direct threat to safety.

S - Statements - This is a further message being a follow up to an emergency, watch, or warning broadcast already made.

Other important codes include: TOR / tornado, SVR / severe thunderstorm warning, EVI / evacuation immediate.

There are also important features that you should try to have included in the model that you purchase. A feature that is recommended by the experts is the Specific Area Message Encoding, also known as SAME. The Products that comply with the Public Alert Standards will have this included. Looking for the Public Alert logo is an easy way to determine if the product supports SAME. This feature enables you to programme the weather alert radio for specific geographical concern or interest rather than the entire regional broadcast area ensuring that you receive alerts that are appropriate for your area.

The radio automatically turns on when it receives this code. First you will hear the alarm and then the broadcasted message. One of the greatest benefits that SAME offers to the consumer is that you minimize the amount of false alarms that you receive. Some models allow you to program what type of alerts that you don't want to receive.Those who live in high lying areas for instance may not want to be bothered with a flood watch.

This may be a feature that you want to ensure is available before purchase so that you aren't being awakened in the middle of the night for an alert that doesn't really have to much effect on you or those you love. Before purchasing an emergency weather radio, do your research. You need to make sure that you get one with any features that are the most important to you.

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