Employees Association Donates Weather Radios to Local Schools

When severe weather threatens this spring, nine Norman schools and the Washington (Okla.) School District will be better prepared as a result of donations made by local employees of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Today (March 6) and tomorrow, representatives of the National Severe Storms Laboratory/Storm Prediction Center Employees Association (NSEA) will present NOAA weather radios to the schools, to coincide with Severe Weather Awareness Week in Oklahoma.

NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts life-saving severe and hazardous weather information directly from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman, Okla., including severe thunderstorm and tornado watches and warnings.

“We believe these weather radios will help our local schools know when severe storms may be headed to their area, so they can take the appropriate precautions,” said Mike Baldwin, NSEA President. “We encourage everyone to have a NOAA weather radio in their home or business. They should be as common as smoke detectors.”

The weather radios are being delivered to seven Norman elementary schools: Adams, Eisenhower, Lincoln, Madison, McKinley, Monroe and Truman. Additional radios will be presented to All Saints Catholic School, Community Christian School and the Washington School District. Richard Smith, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service Norman Forecast Office, and David Grizzle, new emergency preparedness officer for the City of Norman, will assist with the presentations.

Weather radios come in many sizes, with a variety of functions and costs. Newer weather radios, such as the ones donated to the schools, are equipped with SAME technology that allows it to be customized to alert only for the counties selected. These weather radios can automatically sound an alarm and turn themselves on if a severe weather warning is broadcast.

Most NOAA Weather Radio receivers are either battery-operated portables or AC-powered desktop models with battery backup. Some scanners, amateur radios, CB radios, short wave receivers, and AM/FM radios also are capable of receiving NOAA Weather Radio transmissions. Weather radios can be purchased at many electronics and discount stores, as well as on the Internet.

In addition to having a weather radio, the NOAA National Weather Service makes the following recommendations for severe weather safety:

  • Develop a severe weather safety plan for you and your family. Think about what you will do and where you will go to stay safe when storms approach.
  • Pay attention to the weather anytime thunderstorms are nearby. Watches and warnings can give you time to prepare and to take shelter.
  • Have multiple ways to receive life-saving warnings—a weather radio with a warning alarm and battery back-up should be one of those ways.
  • When violent storms threaten, go to your safe place quickly. If no underground shelter is available, go to the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Get as far inside as possible, avoiding windows and doors. Cover up to avoid flying debris.

NSEA members are either employees of the National Severe Storms Laboratory, the Storm Prediction Center or the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

On the Web:
National Severe Storms Laboratory: http://www.nssl.noaa.gov
Storm Prediction Center: http://www.spc.noaa.gov
Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies: http://www.cimms.ou.edu
NOAA Weather Radio: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr