5.3 'Thinking Outside NOAA Weather Radio's Box'

Wednesday, 25 January 2017: 2:00 PM
615 (Washington State Convention Center )
Bruce Jones, Midland Radio Corporation, Kansas City, MO; and B. Thomas

The 1030 transmitters of the NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) Network provide an official alerting service to 98% of the US population but the majority of American homes are not taking advantage of it.  NWR useage is highest in the traditional Tornado Alley, where active severe weather and nocturnal tornadoes drive awareness of this reliable and life-saving service. In other areas the weather threats may be hurricanes, floods, blizzards and wildfires.  The risk of manmade disasters such as chemical spills, radiological emergencies, and terrorism leave no sector of the country that cannot make better use of NWR. Cell phone system failures in Joplin, Moore, Hurricane Sandy, and the DC Earthquake show Americans need redundancy in their alerting methods, and a radio-delivered warning service is still vital to our nation's safety and security.  When an active partnership between TV meteorologists, emergency managers, National Weather Service, and universities gets this message out, the public responds. To increase its audience NWR needs to be more like a commercial radio station: advertised, promoted, and constantly improved to make it more valuable to its millions of listeners. Public outreach on behalf of NWR successfully proves that people will take advantage of a good thing, but first they must know about it.
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