As part of any preparedness regiment one should have ample communications options available. In this first part on our disaster communications series we are going to talk about one of the simplest and cheapest pieces of equipment one can obtain: an NOAA capable radio. There is no excuse to not have one of these radios; they are inexpensive, portable and readily available.
NOAA stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NOAA is a Federal Agency that focuses on the conditions of the ocean and atmosphere. The NOAA’s National Weather service monitors weather and provides updates on current conditions. They are an invaluable source of information when it comes to weather and their warnings can be the difference between life and death for your family.
NOAA National Weather Service
NOAA radios allow you to receive alerts from The National Weather Service. There are many types of radios available on the market. The one I usually recommend to folks is the type made by Eton formerly Grundig. They take regular batteries, have an AC adaptor or in a pinch they have an internal rechargeable battery that can be charged by cranking the radio. The radio will run for quite a bit of time on just a few turns of the crank. The model I have also has AM/FM, weather, TV, emergency light, emergency siren, cell phone charger and several other neat features.
American Red Cross FR300 Emergency Radio, White
Before you run out and buy one of these look around and see if you have a scanner or ham radio that may pick up NOAA frequencies. If you tune into 162.500 you can pick up weather alerts and current condition reports using any of those devices. Many FRS/GMRS radios now come with dedicated NOAA channels as well so make sure you don’t already have one of those.
Although the communications aspect of these radios is purely one way – receive only. This radio is one of the most important pieces of gear you and your family should have. I recommend people just starting out pick up one of these NOAA radios and a set of FRS/GMRS radios as well. This will provide your family with a link to the outside as well as the ability to communicate internally at short distances. Please don’t under estimate the importance of an NOAA capable radio in your preparations. It can literally and in many cases has saved lives!
...that is all.
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