Weather radios are good option for tornado safety

Published: .
Updated: .

Reporter: Bob Segall
Producer: Gerry Lanosga

When tornadoes head toward central Indiana, the first official warning comes from the National Weather Service.

A few minutes later your town will sound its outdoor warning sirens.  But what if you're not outdoors to hear it?  What if your closest siren is broken?  What if you don't live anywhere near a siren?

Emergency management officials say there's a simple answer that every Indiana family should have:  weather radios.

"You can think of the weather radio as a tornado siren in your bedroom," said John Ogren, chief meteorologist at the National Weather Service.   "It's as important as a smoke detector in your home to protect your family."

Official warnings are sent directly to weather radios by the National Weather Service.  Within seconds, the radios sound the alert - and they work day and night.  That can be critical for overnight storms, such as one that killed 22 people in Evansville in November.  The tornado hit at 2 a.m.,  and sleeping residents never heard the outdoor tornado sirens.

"This will wake you up in the middle of the night, just like an alarm clock," said David Bice, emergency management director in Hamilton County.  Bice has a weather radio at his office, in his car, and at home.  He said ordinary citizens should have them, too.

"I think these are just as important, if not more important than the outdoor warning sirens," Bice said.

Because there's been so much severe weather over the past few months, the radios are now hard to find, but that's about to change.  Eyewitness News is partnering with HH Gregg to make thousands of these radios available to viewers.  They're not in stores yet but they will be next week, and they'll be on sale at a big discount.

Stay tuned to Eyewitness News for more details about this program.

Back to Cause for Alarm main page