Minnehaha County, South Dakota
If, since September 11th, you’ve asked yourself what you can do to better protect you and your family in the event of a potential disaster or act of terrorism, the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office has strong recommendation that could save your life. In January 2002, Sheriff Milstead joined former Governor Janklow and members of the National Weather Service in announcing a state-wide plan to use the NOAA Weather Radio System as an ‘all hazzards’ emergency notification system. Many of you are familiar with the NOAA weather radios that, when activated by the National Weather Service, sound an alarm and then broadcast important, potentially life saving information. While the system was intended for severe weather emergencies, a cooperative agreement now exists between State and Local Emergency Officials and the National Weather Service. The agreement allows Fire, Law Enforcement, Emergency Management and top Government Officials to activate the NOAA weather radios in the event of ANY SEVERE LIFE THREATENING EVENT OR THREAT.
As an example, if there was a natural gas pipeline leak (accidental or as the result of a criminal act), Fire Command or Law Enforcement Officials could activate the NOAA radio system to warn residents of the danger and provide life saving information (such as ‘shelter at home’ or evacuation instructions). This system allows us to alert you at any time, and even wake you in the middle of the night to notify you of a threat to your safety. Our goal is to make having a NOAA Weather Radio in a home as common as having smoke detectors. It gives us a tremendous advantage by allowing us to warn you, day or night, of a situation that may pose a risk to the safety of you or your family. It goes without saying that another obvious advantage to having these radios in more homes is the fact that when severe weather threatens, more people will get that warning message as well.
There are a number of different makes and models of NOAA weather radios available. If you don’t want to be notified when one of our surrounding counties has a warning, we recommend that the radio you purchase should have S.A.M.E. (Specific Area Message Encoding) capability. This feature allows you to receive warnings issued only to the specific County that you program it for. The one disadvantage to getting a radio with the S.A.M.E. technology is that those radios need to be programmed by the user so that the radio activates only if the warning is issued for your county. You can program the radio yourself, but may need to ask your retailer or radio provider to help you through that process. If you choose to get the basic NOAA weather radio without the S.A.M.E. technology, that radio will still warn you when we activate the system, the only difference is the fact that the basic radio will also go off if there is a warning issued to another county in the National Weather Service broadcast area. We also recommend that you purchase a radio that has a battery back-up, so that the radio will continue to work in the event of a power failure.