Emergency? County Says 'Turn On The Radio'
March 9, 2009 at 5:13 AM (PT)
When a catastrophic disaster knocks out power for several days, rendering the pricey, battery-operated laptop, flat-screen television, and iPhone useless, the usually simple formula for disseminating news becomes a complex equation, writes THE DAILY SOUND. But the solution, at least for the public, might require nothing more than a minor purchase.
"When everything is down, we turn to radio," said SANTA BARBARA COUNTY Chief Of Emergency Services MICHAEL HARRIS.
HARRIS and several other emergency officials unveiled the county’s Radio Ready campaign yesterday, asking residents to make a hand crank powered AM radio a staple in their emergency kits.
When everything is down, we turn to radio.
The radios cost $6 to $80. But all of them have one thing in common: no batteries. And in an emergency that lasts up to a week, or even longer, a hand-powered radio might be the best, if not only, way to receive emergency information.
But that radio is only as good as the information pouring into its antennae.
One of the results of the conglomeration of local radio and television stations over the past decade has been budget cuts and few, if any around-the-clock staffing. A MAY 2006 SANTA BARBARA COUNTY Grand Jury report that analyzed emergency information concluded, among other things, that the consolidation of media outlets and lack of 24-hour programming would likely result in a breakdown of communication during a major disaster.
The report recommended a number of solutions, including the formation of partnerships between the county and certain radio stations, with an agreement from the stations that they would broadcast emergency information in a timely manner during disasters.