New Alert Radios Will Help Schools Prepare for Emergencies

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MIDDLESEX COUNTY – The Middlesex County Office of Emergency Management is equipping 300 public and private schools throughout the county with new all-hazards alert weather radios.

The radios were purchased with $13,000 of federal Homeland Security funding and will be set to NOAA Weather Radio, a nationwide network of radio stations that broadcasts official National Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and information about other potential hazards.

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“When it comes to keeping our children safe, every second counts,” said Freeholder Mildred S. Scott, chair of the County’s Law and Public Safety Committee. “The radios give school administrators immediate access to the information, putting them in a better position to respond to a dangerous situation if it should arise.”

NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts warnings and post-event information for all types of hazards, including weather (such as tornadoes and floods), natural (such as earthquakes and forest fires), technological (such as chemical releases, oil spills and nuclear power plant emergencies), public safety (such as AMBER alerts or 9-1-1 telephone outages) and national emergencies such as terrorist attacks.

During an emergency, National Weather Service forecasters send out a digital tone followed by specific information about the location and type of emergency that may be occurring.  These radios give the National Weather Service the ability to send specialized information to targeted counties, ensuring that the warnings the schools receive will pertain to their specific area.

“The radios help us get the information to all our buildings all at once – everyone will know what is happening simultaneously,” said Bernardo Giuliana, school business administrator for the East Brunswick School District, which educates about 9,000 students in 11 schools. “It’s critical to have communication that is consistent and timely, particularly in the case of emergencies.”

The radios will be placed in an area of the school that has good reception and is constantly monitored, such as a principal’s, nurse’s or maintenance office.

The radios will come with a full-color flip chart, developed by a county task force of emergency management and school officials, which includes instructions of what to do in the case of an actual emergency.


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