We often stress the importance of having an emergency weather radio for your personal safety and preparedness. These devices are proven to be invaluable in case of a severe weather event such as a hurricane, tornado or flood. But did you know they can alert you to other types of local and national civil emergencies as well? They can! Emergency radios can receive alerts for a number of non-weather related events, including pandemics such as the Coronavirus or COVID-19 emergency currently gripping much of the world in the year 2020.
The NOAA Weather All Hazards system extends nationwide across the US through a network of over 1000 radio transmitters operated by the National Weather Service. It exists primarily to broadcast weather warnings, but is also capable of sending out warnings through the Emergency Alert System, or EAS, related to public safety and national security. The list ranges from AMBER Alerts to tsunamis, and many others in between. The list also includes, of course, a pandemic alert. (It does not, however, include a zombie alert.)
The NOAA Weather Radio, or NWR system covers all 50 United States, US coastal areas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Pacific Territories. It broadcasts on seven frequencies in the VHF public service band.
- 162.400 MHz
- 162.425 MHz
- 162.450 MHz
- 162.475 MHz
- 162.500 MHz
- 162.525 MHz
- 162.550 MHz
A NOAA All Hazards weather radio is capable of receiving weather and other emergency alerts on these frequencies, including Local Area Emergency (LAE) alerts, Civil Emergency Message (CEM) alerts, and Civil Danger Warning (CDW) alerts. Some weather radios such as the Midland WR-120 and WR-400 also feature Specific Area Messaging Encoding technology, or SAME, so some of these alerts can be targeted for your specific local area.
A NOAA weather radio can receive more than just weather related warnings, but that's not the end of the story. This isn't limited to just emergency weather radios. Any base, mobile or handheld walkie talkie equipped with NOAA weather channels and weather alerts can also receive pandemic alerts. This includes business, CB, FRS/GMRS, amateur (ham), airband and marine two way radios. Yes, scanners can receive them too! If your radio can pick up weather alerts, it can also pick up a pandemic alert.
Some popular two way transcievers with NOAA weather channels and alerts include the Motorola RMV2080 business radio, Uniden BearTracker 885 CB radio, the Motorola Talkabout T280 FRS radio, Midland GXT1000 GMRS radio, the Cobra ACXT545 FRS radio, the Icom IC-M36 and Cobra MR-HH350-FLT marine radios, and the Icom A16 Air Band Radio.
That's not the entire list, either. Not even close. You can find a plethora of walkie talkies and other radios equipped with built-in NOAA weather channels and weather alerts at Buy Two Way Radios. Don't wait for the next emergency or pandemic to prepare. Be sure your next two way radio includes NOAA emergency weather channels and alerts.