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Author Topic: Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?  (Read 342 times)

ZLoth

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Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?
« on: September 16, 2017, 02:41:41 AM »

From The Verge:

Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?
Quote
A radio is an essential part of any emergency preparedness kit, whether it’s a regular radio or an National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio (or, ideally, both). But in an age where we’ve got cellular technology and smartphones with capabilities that far exceed what radio can do, why do we still rely on such old-school tech for relaying information in an emergency?

Simply put: radio travels way farther than an LTE broadcast. That makes it much easier to get a signal, and reaching as many people as possible is the first priority with emergency broadcasts.
FULL ARTICLE HERE

My weather radio of choice is a Sangean CL-100 (manual). Here is the list of SAME codes to get the weather alerts.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2017, 09:54:42 PM »

From The Verge:

Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?
Quote
A radio is an essential part of any emergency preparedness kit, whether it’s a regular radio or an National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Weather Radio (or, ideally, both). But in an age where we’ve got cellular technology and smartphones with capabilities that far exceed what radio can do, why do we still rely on such old-school tech for relaying information in an emergency?

Simply put: radio travels way farther than an LTE broadcast. That makes it much easier to get a signal, and reaching as many people as possible is the first priority with emergency broadcasts.
FULL ARTICLE HERE

My weather radio of choice is a Sangean CL-100 (manual). Here is the list of SAME codes to get the weather alerts.

The story also completely ignores the fact that fewer people listen to radio anymore.

If I'm going to hand you something that you never use, how are you supposed to figure out how to find a station broadcasting those emergency broadcasts?  And what are you supposed to do with the information? 

With a phone, you are constantly kept in touch with your friends, your neighbors, where the power outages are, etc.  You can look up the lastest info from numerous sites of your choosing.  Radio gives you one report, and (spoiler alert here): They'll tell you to seek shelter. 

The benefit of a radio is that batteries will last longer than the battery in your phone. 

Also in that article:

Quote
Additionally, with both radio and cellular tech, there’s only so much bandwidth to go around. Cell towers have millions of people clamoring to use the same swath of frequency as they upload photos, send texts, and make phone calls, often at a single tower, which leads to nothing actually working reliably.

That's a far cry from the truth.  In most areas, people didn't have any issues using their phones, unless the cell towers were down completely.

This article really sounds like a gasping effort from the radio lobby to say "Hey, there's something useful about radio still!"
« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 09:57:46 PM by jeffandnicole »
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roadman

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Re: Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2017, 11:29:34 AM »

With respect, your post demonstrates a disturbing trend in society, that being the notion that reliable and still-useful technology should be totally scrapped as soon as something else comes along.

Radio - especially NOAA broadcasts - is useful for the majority of us who don't want to need to be continually glued to a computer or to have our heads buried in a smartphone to stay updated on changing weather conditions.  Or for those people who want to conserve their data or voice minutes so they won't be overcharged should they need to use their device for an actual emergency.

And it doesn't take a collapse of a cell tower or a Wi-Fi server power failure to cause a noticeable disruption in these services.  Cell service can be slowed if too many people are trying to access the same cell sites at once.  Also, Internet service - both Wi Fi and direct wired - can easily bog down - speed slows incrementally with each additional user on the network.
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nexus73

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Re: Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2017, 12:12:28 PM »

The "real" answer to the question is "Because the telegraph wires are down!"...LOL!

Good ol' analog radio rides to the rescue so easily.

Rick
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Mapmikey

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Re: Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2017, 12:57:39 PM »

Radio can still be useful after a large disaster.  Cell towers can be overloaded even if infrastructure is intact (DC Earthquake).

As an example where infrastructure was impacted, the city of Key West didn't update its website with information at all from 9/10-14, and Monroe County didn't update anything from 9/11-14.  Radio was almost certainly used to disseminate official information.  And the beauty of radio is that even if broadcasting wasn't possible from the Keys anywhere, a radio station outside the area can do the job.  This happened in Hurricane Hugo in 1989.  Charleston SC had infrastructure issues for the first days afterward, so it was a radio station in Jacksonville FL that was providing updates and information for Charleston.
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ZLoth

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Re: Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2017, 06:00:50 AM »

After a major disaster like an earthquake or a hurricane, the cell phone infrastructure may be down or overloaded. There would be significant delays in either completing the call or sending/receiving a text message.
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epzik8

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Re: Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2017, 09:20:51 AM »

Because they're good tools.
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Roadgeekteen

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Re: Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2017, 03:15:24 PM »

Duh, what if the cell phone tower fell.
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Duke87

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Re: Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2017, 12:06:40 AM »

I do think there is something to be said for "low-tech" things in disaster scenarios, because by virtue of being low-tech they tend to also be more resilient. The more complex something is, the more fragile it is.

A cell phone is great for communication under ordinary circumstances, but it becomes a useless brick real fast if there is a prolonged and widespread power outage because the battery will go from 100% to 0% in 24 hours or less. Also, cell towers are generally short range with limited ability to use another one if the closest one is down, so the network itself is easily subject to disruption by natural or manmade disasters.


A radio can't do nearly as much as a cellphone can, but it can be used for receiving important news updates. Its batteries will last a lot longer than those of a cell phone. And while disasters may knock radio stations offline, it doesn't matter if the closest one isn't broadcasting - you only need one station in range to be operational for messages to get though. The range of a single station can usually cover an entire metro area at minimum. Additionally, there's no limit to how many people can listen to the same station at once. It won't get overloaded if everyone tunes in at the same time like cell networks can.



Now, I don't own a battery-powered radio as a standalone device... have no use for one outside of an emergency and can't justify the expense or the space it would take up. But in a pinch I can always go listen to the radio in my car. And I would, if circumstances warranted it.
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CtrlAltDel

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Re: Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2017, 01:24:00 AM »

I don't think I have a radio. Well, there's one in my car, but it doesn't work.
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Jardine

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Re: Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2017, 11:15:31 PM »

When I was a kid . . .

 :wow:

early 60s, there either wasn't much specificity in severe weather alerts or there weren't any, or dad didn't much trust them, and if during the night it sounded bad out, dad would wake us all up and set us in the living room (downstairs of a 2 story house), and if it got really bad, we would go to the basement and wait for dad to decide if it was safe to go back up.

Some years later TV storm watches and warnings would be broadcast in the form of "70 miles to either side of a line from Beatrice Nebraska to Dennison Iowa" for instance, and then they would give an expiration time, and it was up to us to decide how scary it was going to get at our location, and what we were going to do about.

TV stations would send out maps with a special finish you could draw on and erase after the storm watch was over.  Heck, might have one in the house somewhere still . . . .
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ZLoth

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Re: Why do we rely on radios during storms and emergencies?
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2017, 02:28:41 AM »

A battery powered radio with AM/FM/Weatherband can run you $20. If you want it with a hand-crank, it'll be $30.
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