Weather radios provide alerts, comfort during storm seasonWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: Toledo Free Press will follow the Blank family for one year as they rebuild after a June 5 tornado destroyed their Main Street home.
The Blanks are continually reminded of their tornado tragedy as storms pummel many parts of the country.
Julie Blank finds some comfort in a weather radio that friend Jeff Schwartz gave her shortly after the June 5 tornado destroyed her home and killed three neighbors.
The radio went off as recently as April 27, the same day the storms tore through the South and killed hundreds. Julie and her husband, Ed, took shelter in the basement because Wood County was under a tornado warning.
Although nothing happened, the Blanks are being cautious. All they have to do is watch the news to see that tornado season has returned with a vengeance. On April 16, a storm hit North Carolina that led to a series of tornadoes that spanned from Oklahoma to Virginia.
“It reminds me of the tornado. It just breaks my heart to see all the pictures. It brings back a lot of memories,” Julie said.
Ed said the sad stories make him relive that day again.
“It is a lot of déjà vu to see that destruction and piles of rubble. It certainly does bring back memories.”
Sheri Meeker, community disaster education specialist with the Red Cross, said it is normal to get nervous when the anniversary of a storm approaches. It is harder when tornado tragedies dominate the news. Although it won’t take away all of a person’s anxiety, it might help to purchase a weather radio, she said.
Weather radios are convenient because they can be off and still broadcast an emergency message, Meeker said. They are battery-operated and sometimes include a hand crank. Julie keeps her radio in her bedroom plugged into an electrical outlet.
A weather radio also broadcasts non-weather related emergency information like a natural disaster, an AMBER alert or a terrorist attack.
Weather radios range in price from $20 to $80. The Red Cross offers its own radios, which can be purchased online at www.redcross.org and at RadioShack and Kmart.
Meeker said a regular radio is good to own because stations usually keep people updated, but a lot of people don’t know they should turn on the radio or television to get the forecast until the weather radio goes off. Many people bought weather radios after last year’s tornado.