Rank482

Idea#510

This idea is active.
FEMA Think Tank »

Reverse 9-1-1 for tornado warnings?

One of the problems is getting tornado warnings to people late at night, when they're sleeping. They may not hear sirens or have a NOAA radio. Is any agency using reverse 9-1-1 to issue these warnings? If not, why not?

Submitted by etobias 2 years ago

Comments (10)

  1. A number of TV stations have acted as sponsors for reverse 9-1-1 systems, and this approach has been helpful.

    2 years ago
  2. etobias Idea Submitter

    Since I wrote my first comment I've been told that Flagler County, FL is using a telephone distribution system for severe weather warnings that's similar to reverse 9-1-1.

    2 years ago
  3. my biggest issue with this is that the time line is a bit longer than I would care to have in place. The reason for this is that by the time NWS puts out the warning, the local EM decides if it is valid and the vendor does the work, several precious minutes have been lost.

    2 years ago
  4. So will my cell phone ring as often as my emergency weather warning radio alarm sounds?

    2 years ago
  5. etobias Idea Submitter

    No, reverse 9-1-1 would be activated, as necessary, by emergency management. If your weather radio was activated by a Tornado Warning reverse 9-1-1 would be activated. Reverse 9-1-1 would not be activated for a Severe Thunderstorm Warning, a Frost Warning or any of the other warnings that might activate your weather radio. (It seems like a good idea to also use reverse 9-1-1 for a Civil Emergency Message, which the NWS also disseminates, now that I think about it).

    It sounds like you have a basic weather radio that sounds an alert whenever ANY type of weather watch or warning is sent. I'd suggest you get one that allows you to select the type of alerts that you want to receive, if you're bothered by receiving too many.

    2 years ago
  6. Reverse 911 is used in many locations, but it is slower, far less effective, and far more expensive than a decent weather radio.

    For under $40 anyone can have a portable weather radio that recognizes SAME codes to limit warnings to the desired area, runs on AC with full battery backup, and includes a warning tone that will nearly wake the dead.

    2 years ago
  7. I think reverse 9-1-1 calling for tornado warnings so long as the system has been tested to insure all of the residents in the threatened area are called. In a recent forest fire, reverse 9-1-1 calls, called residents several miles away from the threat.

    2 years ago
  8. Lets not put the responsibility on the shoulders of local government. We have 24 phone lines for our reverse 9-1-1 system. We would have to take the time to record a message, upload it and then pick the areas we wanted to notify. By time the first person got a call, the smart person with a NOAA radio would be in their safe room with their family sitting on their disaster kit. Personal responsibility is the answer for tornado warnings.

    2 years ago
  9. With the availability of Weather Radios and organizations that will help those less fortunate to have one. I have to agree the reverse 911 is less effective and depending on it alone is not a wise choice when a tornado is bearing down on your location.

    2 years ago
  10. etobias Idea Submitter

    I agree, entirely, that notification via weather radios is the best way to go. However, I suspect that, even in areas with a high incidence of severe weather, many people don't have these radios. Using reverse 9-1-1 would be just an ADDITIONAL avenue of getting the message out, along with sirens (which don't always work), traditional media and social media. Yes, personal responsibility is important, but it can't be the only answer.

    2 years ago

Vote Activity Show