Drawing for weather radios at local program

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) is partnering with all 92 counties in the state to distribute more than 2,200 all-hazard radios to Hoosiers. The units, which are also known as weather radios, will be distributed on the local level by each county’s emergency management agency.

Huntington County EMA received 15 radios this past December, says the agency’s director, Bob Jeffers. Half of those units have been distributed, he notes, while the other half will be given away at EMA weather programs this year.

The next one of those programs will be Monday, March 20, at the Huntington Branch of the Huntington City-Township Public Library at 6 p.m. There will be a drawing for five radios at that time.

“Receiving early warnings is critical to safety during severe weather events,” said John Erickson, IDHS Director of Public Affairs. “All-hazard radios, which provide a wide range of alerts, are a valuable tool that can help citizens make decisions to better protect themselves and their families.”

Around the state, distribution focuses on citizens who are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of severe weather: economically disadvantaged citizens, residents of mobile and prefabricated homes and others who may not be able to receive weather alerts by traditional means. Federal grants funded the purchase of the radios.

Mobile homes and other similar structures provide minimal protection against severe weather and other life-threatening disasters. In the event of severe weather, IDHS advises mobile home residents to seek shelter in a building with a strong foundation.

All-hazard radios receive more than 60 emergency alerts including hazardous weather, local area warnings and information on current conditions from the National Weather Service. In the event of a power outage, backup batteries power the radio.

Most all-hazard radios require a Specific Area Message Encoding (SA-ME) code number, which limits the emergency messages they receive to a specific geographic area. The number for Huntington County is 018069. The entire list of Indiana counties and their corresponding SAME codes is available at www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/coverage/ccov.php?State=IN.

To contact the Huntington County EMA, call 358-4870. To find contact information for other county emergency management agencies, visit www.in.gov/dhs/2797. htm.

For more information on severe weather safety and other topics, visit GetPrepared.in.gov.