: Knowledgebase

Emergency Alerting - It's Got to Be Tested!

The spring severe weather season has already started so this is a good time to get testing procedures in place for all your emergency alerting devices that are unused 99.99% of the time. Which means they may not work when you need them if you don't test them on a regular basis.

A lot of companies have 911 phones, pool phones, elevator phones, fire alarms, hazmat alarms, E911 setups which talk directly to a 911 center, features that let the company operator know which station dialed 911, tornado alerts in a plant or campus, emergency sirens on the paging system of one kind or another, NOAA weather radios to set off announcements, etc.

For monitoring severe weather and some other types of emergencies this radio seems to be the most programmable Weather Alert Radio (which reduces alerts for non-emergency stuff) and has an "External Alert" 3.5mm Jack to activate a siren (it's a dry closure for low voltage / low current devices), from Amazon:

Midland WR300 Weather Radio

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The weather service sends a test once a week from all NOAA weather radio transmitters that will trigger this receiver, and the paging equipment at a plant or factory if connected. Someone at the business should call for service if they don't hear the test!

This will alert with voice or a siren for five minutes, or until the reset button is pressed (there's a 3.5mm audio out jack). There's also an external antenna jack, which you might need in a metal building.

These radios are a bear to program with the correct counties and types of alerts (called S.A.M.E.). It has a 3.5mm "Cable Programming Port" but I have no idea what it does since it's not in the manual.

In a factory environment Tornado Warning (not Watch) for the local county may be the only alert you want to go off, besides the weekly test?

I'd figure a couple of hours to install and program one of these radios, and a couple more trips to get the programming right after it's installed.

I'd let the customer buy it and maybe a spare to have programmed the same way, and charge T&M to put it in (activate a siren or recorded announcement or pipe the audio through the company PA system).

If you've installed emergency alerting equipment for your customers in the past, a reminder to test it is a good opportunity to make contact with them again to see if they need any other equipment from you!