Indiana Homeland Security Giving Out Alert System

8,300 Radios To Be Distributed

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security is distributing more than 8,300 all-hazards-alert radios to help at-risk Hoosiers be prepared for severe weather outbreaks and other large-scale disasters.

The department said all hazard radios have saved many lives since they were developed in the early 1980s to warn of severe weather, particularly tornadoes.

The radios also broadcast Amber Alerts and critical national security information, should that be needed.

The agency is working with local emergency management agencies across the state to distribute the radios, which have backup battery power in the event of power outages.

"We hope to continue partnering with local emergency management agencies to provide additional radios to Hoosiers who might not otherwise be able to afford them," said Joe Wainscott, IDHS executive director.

The radios disseminate more than 60 emergency alerts, including weather information broadcast directly from the National Weather Service.

NWS meteorologist Daniel McCarthy in Indianapolis said the radios "are as close as you're going to get to someone knocking on your door to tell you a tornado is coming."

IDHS distributed about 1,000 radios in Indiana in 2009. A federal grant funded the purchase and distribution of the alert systems, which can be bought at retail outlets for $30 to $40.