PFT 002: Life Saving Emergency Weather Radios

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5 Things to Look For When Choosing An Emergency Weather Radio

It seems like every time we turn around there’s a new stream of weather emergencies unfolding. It doesn’t matter where you live in the world Mother Nature is always working hard to keep it interesting. To help us be more prepared for these often unpredictable weather events it’s critical that we have an early warning system in our homes.  This is especially critical while we are asleep.

One of the simplest ways to help fulfill this need is to choose a good quality emergency weather radio. Here are five key features to look for when researching your emergency weather radio’s features.

Photo Courtesy of NSSL

1.) S.A.M.E TECHNOLOGY- LOCALIZED RECEPTION- This enables you to configure your radio for your specific and/or surrounding counties. Programming the weather radio for your local area helps prevent unwanted alerts from non-relevant areas. You don’t want to be awaken in the middle of the night for something that’s not heading your way.

2.) ALL HAZARD ALERTS- there’s more than just weather emergencies and disasters that impact us. “All Hazard Alerts” include events like Amber Alerts, Nuclear Power Plant Warnings, Biological Hazard Warnings, Civil Emergency Messages, and Fire and Landslide warnings.

3.)  All 7 NOAA Weather Bands, and Canada Weather Channels for our friends in Canada and the northern states. These weather bands aren’t just for emergencies. These weather stations provide you with your local weather’s current conditions and forecasts, 24-hours a day, not just when there’s a looming emergency.

4.) MULTIPLE POWER SOURCES- AC and battery at the minimum.  Some models have hand cranks and/or solar panels. An “AC only” unit won’t do much good if the power goes out.  A battery backup solution is a requirement, not an option.

5.) ANTENNA- This may seem like a strange item to be in the top-5 but the larger the antenna the better the potential reception your radio will have, especially if you are in a basement or internal room.

In addition to the Top-5, there are several ‘notables that are worth mentioning, the non critical niceties. Some of the better units on the market will provide features like alarm clocks with a snooze feature, multiple alert methods- (voice, display, and alert), USB charging ports, Public Alert capabilities, etc.  Some are even built into regular alarm clocks.

Photo Courtesy of NSSL

Photo courtesy of NSSL

There are many great units on the market that fit a wide assortment of needs- home based units, hand-held and portables, emergency-crank, marine grade radios, etc.

For our basic needs we chose the Midland WR-120 Emergency Weather Radio With Alarm Clock. We found that this unit filled all of our needs at a very reasonable price.  It’s been a great unit and comes highly recommended by me.

If you have been thinking about getting an emergency weather radio, don’t wait any longer- do it now!  You owe it to yourself and your family.  After all, your safety and well-being can depend on it!


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