NOAA All Hazard Weather Radio

An NOAA All-Hazards radio is not like your typical alarm clock radio or iPod.  It does not play music.  Instead, it sits quietly on your table until it receives broadcasts exclusively from the National Weather Service.  The radio then provides a rapid warning, direct from the source, when hazardous weather conditions pose a threat to life and property.


It is an "all-hazards" warning system, meaning that it is used not only for immediate flood or tornado-related events but also hazardous materials releases or other localized hazards.  The radio receivers behave like smoke detectors, silently monitoring, and then alerting people to the initial warning message immediately upon receipt, providing more time to respond to the event.


In addition, this radio is programmable, allowing the user to set it up to alert for only the event types and locations they are concerned about.  Older type weather alert radios did not have this feature but with the programmable features of this radio, this is no longer an issue.  To ensure that your radio has this newer technology, make sure that it has the letters “SAME” on the box.  SAME stands for Specific Area Message Encoding and it is what allows you to only hear the alerts issued for your area.  For the Ellis County area, your weather radio should be set for 162.400 MHz and should use the FIPS code 048113.


We recommend every household have an all-hazards radio.  However, to help people decide, we are providing the following information and suggesting people ask themselves these questions:

  • How do you receive severe weather and other public warnings now?  Many people would say they receive these alerts from warnings broadcast on local television or radio.  Are these sources always completely reliable?
  • Are you typically outdoors when the sirens, if you community has sirens, when they are sounded to be able to hear them?  Outdoor warning sirens are not intended to be heard indoors.
  • How many times have storms come through at night when you are asleep and your television is off?
  • How do you expect to be warned if there is imminent danger?

Likewise, local television and radio is a great way to receive up-to-date warning information, but it works only if your radio or TV is on and tuned to the right station.  Again, what about at night when you are sleeping?  Or when you happen to be watching a cable or satellite channel that does not carry the local warning information.  In those cases, you are very likely to miss the warning.


An NOAA All-Hazards Radio, on the other hand, is designed to be an indoor warning device.  It is always on and it will wake you up if you are sleeping.

Do you have a smoke detector?  Of course - it alerts you when it detects smoke.  An all-hazards radio will alert you to many other immediate, life-threatening hazards in your area, like tornados, floods, and other dangerous events.  Without this device, you could miss a critical warning message that could save your life and those in your family.


NOAA Weather Radios are available through local electronics stores as well as from a large number of sources on the Internet.