weather alert radios

Project Prepper, Part 46: Summer Storm Gear Check

In the last installment of the “Project Prepper” series of posts, I talked about “threat priorities” and how severe weather is a top one for me. I blogged:

From my vantage point, here are the “top 3” I’m mostly concerned about:

1. Severe Weather
2. Financial Crisis
3. Terrorism

Concerning severe weather, here in the Chicagoland area residents have to contend with spring and summer storms that can consist of high winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Winter can bring along with it ice storms (not too often), significant snowfall/blizzards, and brutally-cold temperatures. Consequently, structural damage, utility outages, hazardous travel conditions, and other threats to life and property accompany such events.

Case in point, prior to my girlfriend and I moving into our house in 2013, a large part of the Chicago metro area suffered significant damage from a “derecho” (widespread, long-lived wind storm) event that left many area homeowners without electricity for several days. A real nuisance for most of those affected, but potentially deadly to those with serious health issues- like my elderly father. And in case readers think I’m talking about those far-off “suburbs” of Chicago here (I remember one real estate agent referring to Rochelle- approximately 80 miles west of Chicago- as a “western suburb” during the housing boom last decade), these extended outages were taking place in near “North Shore” enclaves. I remember watching one furious Northbrook homeowner being interviewed on the local televised news, saying how he had been without power for a number of days and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been restored yet considering the high taxes he paid to live in such a nice area. Anyway, severe weather tops the list for me. Not as “sexy”- as some would say- as preparing for the “Zombie apocalypse,” but oh well…

The other night the Chicago metropolitan area was hit by a strong summer storm in which the local news reported 15,000 residents lost power (actually somewhat of a small number compared to other recent severe weather events around these parts). The occasion served as a reminder that I should probably perform a gear check prior to the arrival of more summertime severe weather, which is the focus of today’s post.

Emergency Alerts

I checked the operation and battery backup of my ever-vigilant Midland WR-100 Weather/All Hazards Alert Radio (now discontinued by the manufacturer but replaced with a newer model- the Midland WR-120). Everything is in working order. You should have heard the racket that device was making the other night (early morning actually) prior to/during that storm. Yeah, it’s in working order all right.

Emergency Lighting

I gathered up the various lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps in the house set aside for emergency lighting (and day-to-day tasks as well) and checked the operation of all these devices. This included:

Coleman Twin High Performance 8D LED Lantern (580 lumens)
Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” 3D LED Lantern (530 lumens)
Rayovac Sportsman 3D LED Lantern (240 lumens)
Maglite Heavy Duty 6D Incandescent Flashlight (136 lumens)
Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” 2D LED Flashlight (320 lumens)
Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” 3AAA LED Flashlight (250 lumens)
Coast HL3 3AAA LED Headlamp (60 lumens) x 2
Princeton Tec Fuel 3AAA LED Headlamp (43 lumens)

All but one passed inspection, with fresh batteries taking care of the holdout.

The Coast headlamps and Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” lantern/flashlights are new additions to my emergency lighting stash, and have been working great when called upon to perform tasks around the house and off-site. Particularly those Rayovac products. These seem to be built really tough (rubber head/tail cap, aluminum titanium alloy body) and are incredibly bright. The free Rayovac batteries included with each device were a nice bonus as well.

Rayovac "Virtually Indestructible" LED lantern/flashlights- functional, tough, and affordable

Rayovac “Virtually Indestructible” LED lantern/flashlights- functional, tough, and affordable

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I should also mention that in late spring, I lubricated threaded regions on the Maglite and Rayovac flashlights with Vaseline to protect threads and minimize “squealing.”

In addition, some time ago my girlfriend received two stained-glass, programmable 3D LED wall sconces as a gift from her family. We mounted one of them in our second floor hallway and it functions really well as a night light- and emergency light that doesn’t require power in the home to be on. To avoid burning through D-size alkaline batteries, I ordered a 6-pack of EBL 10,000mAh Ni-MH D-Cell Rechargeable Batteries from Amazon to partner with my trusty Rayovac PS3 Universal Smart Battery Charger. While one set (3 batteries) powers the wall sconce that’s been installed, the other goes to the charger. I’ve only started this rotation quite recently, but so far the EBL rechargeable batteries have been performing quite well.

Emergency Cooling

Other devices I checked over include two dual-powered (batteries or included AC adapter) O2COOL 10-inch Portable Fans. These worked just fine. The portable fans should make extended power outages on hot summer days a little bit more bearable.

All of this gear is strategically-positioned around the house for fast access in an emergency (and for daily use).

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Items added to “Gear And Supplies” page)

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Illinois Adults Invited To Enter Contest For Free Weather Alert Radios

Illinois residents 18 years and older are being offered the chance to win free weather alert radios in a contest launched yesterday by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA). From an April 22 press release posted on the Ready.Illinois.gov website:

‘Weather Alert Radios Save Lives’ contest promotes awareness; 100 radios to be awarded

SPRINGFIELD – The recent devastating tornadoes in northern Illinois were a heartbreaking reminder of the tornado risk in Illinois. To increase awareness and use of an important severe weather alerting tool, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) today launched an online quiz for a chance to win a weather alert radio.

The ‘Weather Alert Radios Save Lives’ contest is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov. The contest will run from April 22 – May 22. This is the third time IEMA and IESMA have sponsored the statewide contest.

“It’s important for people to have multiple ways to receive severe weather warnings, particularly at night when most of us are sleeping,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Weather alert radios will sound a tone when a warning has been issued for your area and give you information about the approaching hazard. Similar to a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector, a weather alert radio can give you precious time to take safety precautions.”

A total of 100 weather alert radios will be awarded to participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz. Winners will be announced in late May. The radios were purchased by IESMA as part of an effort to increase the use of the devices in communities throughout Illinois.

“IESMA is excited to team up with IEMA for this valuable awareness contest,” said IESMA President Kevin Sargent. “Each region of the state is affected by some type of extreme weather each year. This year is no exception with the tornado outbreak in central and northern Illinois earlier this month. IESMA believes many lives are saved each year by people being able to receive severe weather warnings from NOAA weather alert radios. Please take time to participate in this contest for a chance to win one of 100 weather alert radios to be given away.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) and state and local emergency management officials encourage individuals and businesses to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All Hazards with battery backup, a tone-alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, which allows the radio to be programmed to receive alerts for specified counties. When an alert is issued for that area, the device will sound a warning alarm tone followed by the broadcast message.

Besides weather information, the NWS also broadcasts warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards, including natural, environmental and public safety hazards, such as earthquakes, chemical spills and AMBER alerts.

More information about severe weather preparedness also is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

I just completed taking the online quiz as part of this year’s “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest. The five-question quiz is easy- but be sure to read and digest that information provided on the “Weather Alert Radio Contest” page first.

I’m a big fan of weather alert radios. Even if you don’t win one through this contest, I highly-recommend going out and getting one of these devices anyway if you don’t already own one.

Good luck! And Survival And Prosperity thanks the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) for holding this contest once again.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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April Is Pet Preparedness Month In Illinois

My girlfriend is lucky enough to have an office dog. Meet “Kodi”:

Kodi

Even though we’re not her owners, we’re still planning to sock away some food and other items for her in case of an emergency or “ruff” times.

Illinois readers- did you know April is Pet Preparedness Month in Illinois?

From the Illinois Government News Network website on April 1:

Don’t Forget Pets When Planning for Disasters

IEMA, local emergency management agencies to focus on pet preparedness throughout April

SPRINGFIELD – Pets are treasured family members in more than half of Illinois households. If your family includes a dog, cat, hamster or other furry, feathered or scaly friends, don’t forget to include their unique needs in your home emergency plans.

That’s the message the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies will promote throughout April as part of Pet Preparedness Month in Illinois.

“Every home should have an emergency supply kit and plans for how to stay safe when disaster strikes,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “Make sure your kit and emergency plans address the needs of every family member, including your pets. Your preparedness efforts today can help keep everyone in your family, including your pets, safe when disaster strikes.”

Joseph said home emergency supply kits for people should include a three-day supply of such items as food, water, first aid kit, weather alert radio, flashlights, spare batteries and other items. Pet owners should also have a pet preparedness kit stocked with items such as:

• At least a three-day supply of food and water
• Extra supplies of pet medicines
• Copies of pet registration, vaccinations and other important documents
• Photo of your pet in case you are separated during an emergency
• Collar with ID tag, harness or leash
• Crate or other pet carrier in case of evacuation
• Pet litter and box, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach for sanitation
• Toys, treats or other familiar items to reduce your pet’s stress during the emergency

If it’s necessary for you to evacuate your home during a disaster, take your pets with you. An evacuation could last several days, even weeks, and your pets likely cannot survive without care. Plan now for places you and your pets can stay following an evacuation, as many public shelters do not allow animals inside.

It’s also important to have a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Talk to neighbors, friends and family to make sure someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so.

Additional pet preparedness and general emergency preparedness information is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov, the Ready Illinois Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ReadyIllinois and on Twitter at Twitter.com/ReadyIllinois.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Win 1 Of 100 Weather Alert Radios As Part Of Severe Weather Preparedness Month In Illinois

Illinois residents- it’s that time of year again:

Severe Weather Preparedness Month

From a February 28, 2013, press release from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA):

Online Contest Launched to Raise Awareness of Weather Alert Radios
Local, State Emergency Management Officials to Encourage Severe Weather Preparedness in March

SPRINGFIELD – On Feb. 29, 2012, a deadly tornado tore through the Southern Illinois communities of Harrisburg and Ridgway shortly before 5 a.m. With most people still sleeping, many didn’t hear the outdoor warning sirens blaring or warnings issued on radio and TV stations.

Eight people lost their lives and more than 100 others were injured as a result of the tornado. Fortunately, some residents were awakened by alarms broadcasted over their weather alert radios and were able to seek shelter before the tornado hit.

In an effort to increase public awareness of weather alert radios, local and state emergency management officials today launched a statewide contest. The Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are sponsoring the “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest, in which participants will take an online quiz for a chance to win one of 100 weather alert radio to be awarded.

The contest will be highlighted throughout March, which is Severe Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois.

“Having a weather alert radio in your home can be a real lifesaver, much like a smoke detector or a carbon monoxide detector,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “Each of these devices can alert you to hazards, even while you’re sleeping, and give you time to get to a safe place.”

The contest is available on the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov), the IESMA website (www.iesma.org) and on many county and municipal emergency management agency websites. A total of 100 weather alert radios will be awarded to participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz. The contest runs from Feb. 28 through March 31. Winners will be announced in April.

“Every home and business should have a weather alert radio,” said IESMA President Russ Thomas.

IESMA purchased the weather alert radios as part of a program to increase emergency preparedness in local schools, hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities and government buildings throughout Illinois. During 2013 and 2014, IESMA plans to place 800 weather alert radios in local facilities.

The National Weather Service (NWS) and state and local emergency management officials strongly encourage people to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All Hazards with battery backup, a tone-alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, which allows the radio to be programmed to receive alerts for specified counties.

When an alert is issued for the programmed area, the device will sound a warning alarm tone followed by the broadcast message.

Besides weather information, the NWS also broadcasts warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards, including natural, environmental and public safety hazards, such as earthquakes, chemical spills and AMBER alerts.

“Despite the drought last year, Illinois still had dozens of tornadoes and hundreds of severe thunderstorms that damaged property, injured 125 and tragically killed nine people,” said Chris Miller, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln. “This underscores how important it is for people to be prepared at all times. You should identify a place at home and work to take shelter from tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, and have multiple ways to receive hazardous weather information, such as apps for electronic devices or a weather alert radio.”

IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, which provides information about tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding and recommended actions to take before, during and after each of these weather events.

The guide also includes definitions of important weather terms, including watches, warnings and advisories and a list of items needed for a family emergency supply kit. It is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov or by calling (217) 785-9925.

I just got done taking the online quiz as part of the “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest. The five-question quiz is easy- but be sure to read that information they provide about weather alert radios first.

I’m a big fan of weather alert radios. Even if you don’t win one through this contest, I highly-recommend going out and getting one anyway if you don’t have one already.

Good luck! And thanks to the Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) for sponsoring the contest.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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March Is ‘Severe Weather Preparedness Month’ In Illinois

Before I forget, speaking of severe weather in the Midwest, March is “Severe Weather Preparedness Month” here in Illinois. From a February 28 Illinois Emergency Management Agency press release:

Local, State Emergency Management Officials Launch Weather Alert Radio Contest

March is Severe Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Local and state emergency management officials today launched a statewide contest aimed at increasing awareness and use of weather alert radios. The Illinois Emergency Services Management Association (IESMA) and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are sponsoring the “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest, in which participants will complete an on-line quiz for a chance to win a weather alert radio.

The contest will be highlighted throughout March, which is Severe Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois.

“2011 was one of the worst years for tornado deaths in the U.S. in the past 60 years,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken. “Fortunately, Illinois didn’t experience these terrible storms, but we never know when or where the next deadly storm could strike. Weather alert radios are a key tool for alerting people to approaching danger, day or night, and every home should have one.”

The contest is available on the Ready Illinois website (www.Ready.Illinois.gov), the IESMA website (www.iesma.org) and on many county and municipal emergency management agency websites. A total of 100 weather alert radios will be awarded to participants who register after reading information about the radios and successfully completing a five-question quiz. The contest runs from Feb. 28 through March 31. Winners will be announced in April.

“Through this contest, we hope to make people in Illinois more aware of the importance of weather alert radios as part of their personal preparedness kit,” said IESMA President Chuck Genesio. “Much like a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector alerts people to those dangers, weather alert radios warn people of hazards outside the home so they have time to seek shelter or take other actions to stay safe.”

IESMA purchased the weather alert radios in 2010 and 2011 as part of a program to increase emergency preparedness in local schools, hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities and government buildings throughout Illinois. Nearly 7,300 weather alert radios were distributed for placement in these facilities through the program, which was funded with $172,420 in federal homeland security grant funds allocated by the Illinois Terrorism Task Force. The 100 radios distributed as part of the “Weather Alert Radios Save Lives” contest will help Illinois residents better prepare for emergencies.

The National Weather Service (NWS) and state and local emergency management officials strongly encourage people to have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All Hazards with battery backup, a tone-alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology, which allows the radio to be programmed to receive alerts for specified counties. When an alert is issued for that area, the device will sound a warning alarm tone followed by the broadcast message.

Besides weather information, the NWS also broadcasts warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards, including natural, environmental and public safety hazards, such as earthquakes, chemical spills and AMBER alerts.

“Tornadoes do not just occur during the day,” said Chris Miller, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Lincoln. “In Illinois, 30% of all tornadoes occur at night when it can be difficult to hear outdoor warning sirens from inside your home, especially if you are asleep. The best way to be warned about tornadoes at night is to have a weather alert radio in your home. It is like having your own personal storm siren.”

IEMA and the NWS developed a Severe Weather Preparedness Guide, which provides information about tornadoes, severe storms, lightning and flooding and recommended actions to take before, during and after each of these weather events. The guide also includes definitions of important weather terms, including watches, warnings and advisories and a list of items needed for a family emergency supply kit. The guide is available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov or by calling (217) 785-9925.

Lots of useful info for Illinois residents. And the contest sounds cool- I’ll have to check it out.

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