Contributed by KA8SCP:
Weather Radio to Handle Terror Alerts
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP)–Emergency alerts for everything from tornadoes to missing children and terror warnings will get out to the public through an expanded weather radio network, the government announced Thursday.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s network already makes emergency weather warnings available to 97 percent of the country and has added alerts for missing children and other hazards in recent years.
The addition of the Homeland Security Department to the system will allow terror alerts and warnings to be distributed automatically through the same way.“This agreement is an example of interagency cooperation that … can be applied to protect the homeland from both man-made and natural disasters,” said Frank Libutti, undersecretary for information analysis and infrastructure protection at Homeland Security.
Added NOAA Administrator Conrad C. Lautenbacher: “Today, radios, televisions and other devices are equipped to sound the alarm when danger threatens. Warnings and alerts can also be sent to cell phones, pagers and computers, ensuring that these vital messages can reach every corner of America.”
Special radios that automatically turn on and sound an alarm when it is received are popular in areas subject to tornado, hurricane and other weather threats. The devices are in use in many public places, stores.
Lautenbacher noted that the system encodes messages to a specific area where a threat occurs.
NOAA also cooperates with the Emergency Alert System, operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which sends alerts to local radio and television stations and cable systems.
Beginning more than three decades ago with weather warnings over special radios, the NOAA system has become an all-hazards network. It covers natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanoes; serious accidents, such as chemical releases; nuclear power plant emergencies; train derailments; maritime concerns; and 911 outages.
On the Net:
NOAA Weather Radio: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr
All-Hazards Emergency Messages: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/allhazard.htm