Spokane Emergency Preparedness
NOAA Weather radio (NWR) began as a radio service to provide weather
information to boaters along the Atlantic and Pacific coast lines. It was then
expanded nationally to provide routine weather information and weather warnings
to the public. Currently NWR broadcasts can be received over nearly 95 percent
of the United States. During the past few years NWR has evolved into an all
hazards radio. It is the only National warning radio system. Public officials
may request the broadcast of non-weather related emergency information on these
transmitters. At this time the request is manually processed with only limited
non-weather messages being broadcast. Over the next few weeks, NWR in Eastern
Washington and north Idaho will again make a major step forward.
Non-weather related emergency messages will be automatically received and broadcast. The National Weather Service in Spokane provides programming to 6 NWR transmitter sites over the Inland northwest; Mt Spokane, Wenatchee, Lewiston, Mt Idaho, Black Mt near Bonners Ferry, and Okanogan. Other weather offices around the region and around the Nation provide additional coverage for citizens.
These radios operate 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Most NWR receivers are tone alerted, which means that they can be set in a standby mode and then be remotely activated whenever a warning message is broadcast. In addition, the newer receivers can be set to only activate for selected counties in the area.
Homeland security, NWS, FEMA, as well as National, State, and Local emergency managers all recommend that families purchase and have available NWR receivers as part of their home preparedness program. Many public officials, schools, hospitals and public buildings already have these radios. They will then directly receive important weather warning information and local non-weather related warnings. In an age of numerous threats, both from natural disasters and from human caused disasters such as terrorism or hazardous materials spills, receiving reliable and rapid information is essential. NWR will help provide this important information.
Information on obtaining these radios can be found at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/nwrrcvr.htm
8 June 2005