The government has a lot of tools in place to deal with preparations for heavy weather and handling the situation in the aftermath – but when it comes to getting critical information out to the public, there is one and only one medium it relies on, and it isn’t a government entity. Say hello to your friendly local radio station.
FEMA is urging citizens to prepare in advance for a storm – that means making sure that essential survival items are on hand.
Among the emergency supplies recommended by the agency are “…bottled water, battery-powered radio, flashlight, batteries, medicines, toiletries, non-perishable food items, manual can opener, and first aid supplies.”
Gov. Rick Scott (R) of Florida issued similar advice for residents of his state, and also recommended having a battery-powered radio on hand, as well as an NOAA radio.
During a major storm, most media are in danger of being completely disabled, particularly those that rely on wires for distribution to the public.
Although local broadcast television is transmitted without wires, the ownership of battery-powered television receivers is not widespread.
Radio can go on regardless of the condition of local infrastructure powered by a generator, and a battery-operated radio is inexpensive, widely available and has a much longer life than most other communications devices.
RBR-TVBR observation: A word about NOAA. We live in a hurricane area, and we do have an NOAA radio. It is very useful to a point – and that point is prior to and upon the arrival of a weather event. But the information is strictly concerned with the meteorological aspect of a storm. For actual news, local radio run by local radio station personnel who live in the communities they serve is far preferable.