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Item of the Week: AM/FM Radio

Mar 27, 2019

Why do you need an AM/FM radio in your emergency kit?

Imagine there’s an extreme weather alert. A hurricane comes into the area and wipes out the power lines and cell phone towers. Now, you find yourself without electricity and without access to the cellular network. How will you get news and alerts? Even if your cell phone or other mobile device is working, you cannot access wifi or data.

Cue the AM/FM radio. In an emergency situation like the one described above, the AM/FM radio may be your only way to stay connected and get informed.

Which type of AM/FM radio should you get for your emergency kit?

You’ll want a special AM/FM radio that can receive National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio broadcasts. NOAA issues alerts for emergencies ranging from fires and tornadoes to Amber Alerts and chemical spills. These alerts are broadcast at frequencies between 162.400 and 162.550 MHz, which cannot be received on standard AM/FM radios.

Other features you may want your radio to have include:

  • Specific Alert Message Encoding - With this feature, you can program your radio to tune into specific geographic areas for emergency alerts so you only receive those that are relevant to you.
  • Multiple Power Sources - With this feature, you won’t have to rely solely on batteries or electricity. Radios with a hand-crank and/or solar panels allow you to use manual labor or the sun as power sources.
  • Battery Power Bank - With this feature, you can charge your phone or other mobile devices.
  • LED Flashlight - With this feature, you have an additional light source.

Remember, the best emergency radio is one that works during an emergency. Be sure to test your radio periodically to make sure it’s still working and to recharge the built-in battery or replace external batteries, if needed.

Additional Resources