06/08/11  Most people pay attention when their radio music is suddenly cut off for a severe weather report. The sound of sirens in the distance or a emergency notification on the news is usually a cause for concern. But according to Clyde Avery, of the Marshall County Emergency Management Agency (EMS), relying on those emergency messages may not be safe.

Avery believes that each home should have an all hazard emergency alert radio on hand.

“(The radios) are made to alert hazardous weather conditions, or anything that affects the community, such as a material leak or spill,” said Avery. “The most important thing (to know) is that they are not just for weather. They are for any type of serious incident.”

He continued, pointing out that outdoor warning systems are made specifically to warn people who are outside to go inside in a dangerous situation; not to be heard by people who are already indoors. In the event of a severe thunderstorm warning, for example, the radio would give a message from the National Weather Service to the home’s residents about what counties are covered by the warning and where to seek shelter.

The Marshall County EMS recently received 60 radios from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, and they plan to distribute them to people who may not have the resources to purchase their own. Alert radios are available for purchase at Martins Supermarket, Walgreens, and Radio Shack, and cost about $40 each, Avery said. Once the radios are purchased, they must be programmed in order to receive messages.

The EMS and volunteers from the Marshall County Amateur Radio Club will be teaming up with Martins to provide free radio programming service Saturday, July 16 from 7 a.m. to noon. The service is part of their annual Weather Radio Programming Day.

Provided by our news partners at the Pilot.