News and Tribune

November 28, 2012

Indiana homeland security distributes hazard radios

23,000 radios distributed statewide in last four years

By MATT KOESTERS
matt.koesters@newsandtribune.com

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is again distributing all-hazards alert radios to at-risk Hoosiers throughout the state, this year to the tune of nearly 8,500 radios statewide.

“The advanced knowledge all-hazards alert radios provide about coming thunderstorms, floods, tornadoes and other dangerous weather conditions give residents warning to seek shelter before a storm,” said IDHS Executive Director Joe Wainscott, according to an IDHS press release. “We are pleased at the opportunity to again make this valuable early-warning tool available to more Hoosiers who might not otherwise be able to afford it.”

The IDHS has distributed 23,000 all-hazards alert radios throughout the state in each of the last four years. According to the IDHS release, the agency plans to continue doing so in the future.

All-hazard alert radios broadcast more than 60 emergency alerts, such as hazardous weather and other local area warnings, including up-to-date weather information broadcast directly from the National Weather Service. In the event of a power outage or evacuation, backup batter power allows the radios to remain operational.

Federal grant sources funded the purchase and distribution of the radios.

Floyd County received 96 radios this year, said Terry Herthel, executive director of the Floyd County Emergency Management Agency. In the past, the radios have been distributed to nursing homes, mobile-home parks and low-income homes. This year, Floyd County’s allotment went to private daycare centers, Herthel said.

Floyd County has 16 tornado sirens with about a 2-mile radius apiece, but the radios are superior notification devices, Herthel said.

“It costs $20,000 to put up a siren in the county, and I could put out a lot of weather radios for that,” Herthel said. “They’re a lot more effective than sirens.”

The number of radios distributed in Clark County was not immediately available. Clark County Emergency Management Director Les Kavanaugh did not respond to a message left on his office phone seeking comment.