PELL CITY -- The Pell City Fire Department was offering NOAA Weather Radios for free, but the 200 units available to residents have already been claimed.
The Fire Department opened registration for a free radio Tuesday night.
Pell City Fire Department Battalion Chief Tim Kurzejeski said Wednesday morning that 130 residents had already signed up for the free weather radios, and by noon, the supply was depleted.
“Each of these radios will be programmed in advance to receive emergency information for St. Clair County and will come with instructions to allow programming for surrounding counties,” Kurzejeski said.
Residents who claimed a radio will pick them up at Pell City Fire Station No. 1 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., April 7-14.
Kurzejeski said the weather radios were purchased through a grant awarded to the city by the Coosa Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council.
“It is essential that residents remain weather aware and able to receive notices of impending weather events,” Kurzejeski said. “We encourage all residents to monitor local news and radio stations, utilize smartphone apps and obtain weather radios in order to maintain their safety.”
Residents are asked to provide proof of residency at the time of pickup, such a driver’s license showing a city address or a utility bill.
City Manager Brian Muenger said the city received $4,000 from the Coosa Valley RC&D, and the municipality matched the grant with $1,000.
“When we were made aware of this opportunity, I presented it to the council, and they were immediately in favor of it,” Muenger said. “We are always seeking opportunities to leverage our funds effectively, and this was a great opportunity to educate the public and also to provide 200 households with a radio that could help them a great deal.”
Muenger said he wasn’t surprised that all of the weather radios were claimed, but he was surprised about how fast they went.
“That tells us we need to look for more funding sources to make these available to residents,” he said.
Muenger said if a resident purchases a weather radio, Fire Department personnel will help program it.
He said the city notified residents of the availability of weather radios through an electronic newsletter. The newsletter was released at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and was viewed by 1,238 people.
A NOAA All-Hazards radio receives broadcasts exclusively from the National Weather Service. The radio can provide rapid warning, direct from the source, when hazardous weather conditions pose a threat to life and property. It is also an "all-hazards" warning system, used not only for immediate flood or tornado related events, but also a hazardous materials release or other localized hazards.
The radio receivers behave like smoke detectors, silently monitoring and then alerting people to the initial warning message immediately upon receipt, providing more time to respond to the event.
The radio being distributed is the Midland model WR-120 EZ and will include spare batteries. The batteries provide backup power in the event of a power outage.