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Dane County to Expand Weather Radio Program

For more information contact:

Joshua Wescott, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3/21/2008

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
Early Warning of Severe Storms Goal of New County Effort

(Madison)….Following a successful pilot project in southwest Dane County last summer, the County will make weather radios available at a low cost to residents countywide this spring.

Dane County will purchase thousands of the weather radios that sound alerts when severe weather and tornadoes threaten. These “all hazards” radios will be available for the public to buy, at-cost, from their local town, village, or city halls by early to mid April.

“These radios will arrive in time for severe weather season and help people get important early warnings to dangerous storms moving into the county,” County Executive Kathleen Falk said.

The County Emergency Management office is currently talking with local municipalities to determine how many of the weather radios each community would like available for sale. Given the high level of interest, Dane County may order more than the 5,000 radios initially planned on.

Under an initiative authored by County Board Supervisor Pat Downing of the town of Perry, 2,600 weather radios were sold last year to help Dane County residents stay informed during dangerous weather. After the success of this program, Falk included $110,000 in the 2008 budget to ensure more of the radios would be available to residents countywide.

"A siren can alert you to danger, but the radio tells you just what the danger is and helps you get ready for it,” Downing said. "Many rural folks have told me time & again how these radios help them feel more prepared and secure in the face of danger than ever before."

According to the National Weather Service, 27 tornadoes have touched down in Dane County in the past 25 years. That includes the 2005 Stoughton area tornado that killed one person and did millions of dollars in damage.

“Early warnings save lives. That’s why we want to get these radios into as many homes as we can so people have ample time to get down to their basements and out of harms way before these storms strike,” Falk concluded.

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