Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

October 23, 2013

Consider WX radio as a gift

It was about 2 a.m. when the tornado touched down in Henderson County, Ky., Nov. 6, 2005.

The twister crossed the Ohio River and churned into a mobile-home community near Evansville, picking up some of the trailers and pitching them into a nearby pond.

Twenty-five people died that night, and more than 200 others were injured.

The National Weather Service had issued warnings for the area some 30 minutes before the tornado struck Vanderburgh County, but people were asleep. They didn’t hear the sirens. They weren’t aware of the danger.

The following year, the state Legislature mandated every new manufactured or mobile home sold in Indiana be equipped with a weather radio. And it’s why the state Department of Homeland Security has supplied weather radios to county emergency management agencies for distribution in trailer parks and areas of low income these past few years.

If Hoosiers learned anything from the Evansville tornado of eight years ago, it’s that such storms can touch down at any time in any month. So if you’re looking for a gift for that hard-to-buy-for relative or friend, consider getting them a weather radio. They’re inexpensive — anywhere from $30 to $40 — and can be found online and in most electronics stores.

Weather radios arguably are more reliable than tornado sirens — a horn’s blast could be difficult to hear when your windows are closed and you’re asleep. And they’re a necessity for those who live in a mobile home.

Some 20 million Americans live in manufactured homes, and the fatality rate for their residents during a tornado is more than 10 times that of permanent structures.

Storms, floods and tornadoes can strike any time of year. Purchase a weather radio and set it near your bed. It could save your life.

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