(ATLANTA) - The Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) supports and the National Weather Service (NWS) in observing February 1-7, as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Georgia.
"Encouraging local residents to install a NOAA weather radio in their home is our focus for Monday, February 2, day two of the week-long observance," said GEMA Director Charley English.
Director English recommends the placement of these life-saving devices in every structure where people gather. "Every building needs a NOAA weather radio so the people inside can receive immediate severe weather or emergency information, when minutes or even seconds count, day or night. This early warning can be the difference between life and death," he said.
NOAA weather radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information direct from a nearby National Weather Service office. NOAA weather radio broadcasts National Weather Service watches, warnings, forecasts, and other hazard information 24 hours a day.
Some weather radios are equipped with a special tone feature, which can sound an alert and give you immediate information about a life threatening situation. During an emergency, the National Weather Service will interrupt routine weather radio programming and send out a special tone that activates weather radios in the warning area.
Recently, a radio that can handle the Emergency Alert Signal was introduced. The Specific Area Message Encoder (SAME) tone alert can be set up to only sound for a single county. This cuts down on the number of unwanted tones you receive, and, for example, alerts you only when a life threatening situation exists in your county.
In Georgia, there are 23 transmitters broadcasting throughout the state. Seven frequencies are reserved for NOAA weather radio on the public service band. These frequencies range between 162.400 megahertz and 162.550 megahertz. Broadcast range is approximately 40 miles, but the effective range depends on terrain, quality of the receiver, and indoor/outdoor antennas.
Today, approximately 98 percent Georgia's population lives within range of a NOAA weather radio transmitter. This figure represents a 58 percent increase from ten years ago.
"Signal reception is almost 100 percent statewide, so if you don't have a weather radio in your home, please buy one immediately. It could save your family," Director English urges.
To make sure your area is covered, check this listing of all NOAA weather radio transmitters and corresponding frequencies in Georgia:
Blue Ridge_162.475 MHz
Brasstown Bald_162.500 MHz
La Grange_162.450 MHz
Taylor's Ridge_162.450 MHz
For more information, contact GEMA at www.gema.g.gov or visit these Web sites: www.srh.noaa.gov/ffc/ or www.redcross.org.