Bruce Jones: As TV meteorologist. I’ve always advocated that people should have multiple and redundant ways of getting this information. You should sign up for reverse 911. You should download the TV stations APP. If the county has an app should.. You should sign up for all of those services that you can. You should listen for your outdoor sirens if you have them, if you are outdoors, you should watch the TV forecast. And especially in tornado alley. I used to tell my viewers now you need to watch the forecast in the morning and you needed to watch the forecast in the afternoon and evening because things can change very rapidly. And then on top of that, if you’ll have a NOAA weather radio, and I said, you know, if you’ll do that, folks This is me been talking to my viewers, if you do all of those things, I can almost guarantee you that you’ll never be surprised by an emergency.
Todd DeVoe: Hi and welcome to EM Weekly and this is your host, Todd DeVoe speaking. And this week we are talking to Bruce Jones, a meteorologist at Midland USA. You may know Midland to USA just as that weather radio company and although they do have many, many products other than the weather radios, we are talking about weather radios today and a little bit about early warning systems and along with why it’s important to have a weather radio in your kit. I think the topics are very important. Some of the issues with early notification systems, mass notification systems and having that extra tool in your toolbox as an emergency manager of being able to reach out and use the weather radio I think is really important. In fact, on January 17th of 2019, can you believe it’s going to be 2019 in just a few days? We’re having a Webinar just on that topic of early notification and mass notification. And what does that mean? And we have a couple of great emergency managers there. We have Steve Kuhr from Colorado. We have Kelly McKinney, the author of the Moment of Truth and also an emergency manager from New York City. And we have a team from Titan HST, who is one of our sponsors. However, this is not a sponsored webinar. They’re going to be on the show as well, talking about mass notification. So I think it’s really important for us to really use all the tools that we have and I think there’s NOAA weather. Radio is one of these things that we can encourage the residents in our, in our towns, the visitors that are out there to have the really inexpensive NOAA weather radio with them, whether it’s a Midland one or not, doesn’t make me make a difference as long as it’s the NOAA weather radio and in their hands and we could communicate with them that way as well.
Todd DeVoe: Well, before we get in the show, please go to EM Weekly and sign up for our email list and love to communicate with you that way and we’re going to be pushing out a lot more information via our newsletter and as well as go to Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter in your favorite podcast provider. And we’re going to be communicating with you all that way as well. So we’re going to be having some more webinars this year, some more conversations and seminar as well. So looking forward to seeing you guys out there now onto the interview.
Todd DeVoe: Bruce, welcome to. EM Weekly.
Bruce Jones: Thanks very much. Glad to be here. I was a TV meteorologist in Kansas City and in Topeka for many years and spent 31 years in broadcasting and this is my 42nd year of telling people if you live in the United States and you don’t have a weather radio, you need to talk to a psychiatrist.
Todd DeVoe: So true. You just kind of funny I guess because I’ve always been an outdoors person, whether it’s always been part of, you know, back east to get ready to go skiing whether we’re going to be in school or not and then you know, just going out camping or say heat going to be or what are we going to pack for that type of stuff. So whether it’s always been important and I even went so much and got myself a weather station from Costco and it was like $100, a hundred and some dollars, you know, kind of doing it. My wife thinks it’s a little strange. She’s like, you live in southern California, it’s going to be sunny and hot, but that’s not necessarily true, but the, the weather radio gives you more information than just what the weather is today. Can you tell us a little bit how the weather radio works?
Bruce Jones: Well, it’s a national broadcast. First of all is paid for by the federal government. They have a 1,031 transmitters nationwide and they also have them in the US territories, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, excreta, but it’s a 1,031 transmitters nationwide. That sends a direct broadcast from your local National Weather Service Office. 24/7/365. So anytime they need to alert you with anything important, they can set that weather radio off with the tone alert and gets your attention that way and it’s an 80 decimal alert tone, so it’s impossible to sleep through it. Once it goes off, it’s going to wake you up and that’s what it was designed to be. She Todd NOAA weather radio is the indoor tornado siren or the indoor tsunami siren. It was designed to be inside your house and alert you as opposed to air raid sirens and outdoor tornado siren it is the indoor tornado siren and you know, it actually started back in the 19, late 1950’s early 1960’s in Chicago.
Bruce Jones: They were using it for marine forecast for the boats out on Lake Michigan and it proved very successful there and they used it for briefing pilots before they took off from Meigs field, which was right down on the waterfront. So it was used as a pilot briefing and marine briefing radio system first. But after the super outbreak, the Super Tornado outbreak of April third of 1974 when the tornado warnings in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio were coming in so fast and furious that the wire services couldn’t even keep up with them. The National Weather Service said, you know, we need to have a faster and more reliable system for getting these warnings. And so that’s the point in time. 1974 was when it shifted away from being marine and aviation forecasting service to America’s national warning system. And NOAA weather radio is our official national federal warning system. It not only does tornado warnings, hurricane warnings, tsunami warnings, wildfire warnings, but you could also get a nuclear attack.
Bruce Jones: If you have an incident at a nuclear power plant, you have a terrorist attack, civil emergency messages, and there are a variety of ways that emergency managers can utilize NOAA weather radio. As an emergency manager. If you have any emergency in your county and you want to get the word out, you can just place a phone call to your local National Weather Service Office. Tell them we have a civil emergency message. We have a law enforcement emergency… Like an escape, the National Weather Service will broadcast that on NOAA weather radio.
Todd DeVoe: Oh, I didn’t know that.
Bruce Jones: So you can use it for weather and non-weather related emergencies. And that’s why you frequently hear it referred to as all hazards, NOAA, weather, radio, all hazards. So it’s whether plus a lot more.
Todd DeVoe: So now with the NOAA radio specifically, Now I know that on the HAM radio you can find the frequency and you can hear the weather report going on all the time. Right, and then I know with these radios and Bruce actually brought some radios and I wish I could show them to you about. Obviously we’re audio only will describe them on the radio that you brought here today. There’s a… You don’t have to have them playing in the background all the time. You can. You can do the SAME alert, right?
Bruce Jones: Yeah. It’s a lot like a smoke detector. A NOAA weather radio is always on, but silently, so it just sits there silently and every day, every hour, every minute of the day. It’s silently monitors that broadcasts from the National Weather Service. Now if you want to listen to it, you can push the button and here the latest forecasts and things of that nature, but honestly nobody wants to listen to it. You set it up and it sits there silently. It’s plugged into the wall, but it also has a battery backup, so even if the power goes out in the middle of a storm or something, it’s still going to go off and that’s the important point. When the National Weather Service needs to activate that radio, they can do it automatically and instantaneously. And at that point, every weather radio in your county will go off.
Todd DeVoe: So the message is that you’re actually getting is a computer read message, right? It’s not a person that is reading. Right?
Bruce Jones: Right. Because most National Weather Service Offices are running 10, 12, 13 transmitters, so let’s say the in Oxnard, California, they’re responsible for NOAA weather radio transmitters all across the valley and all up and down the coast. So when you have that many transmitters and one person at a microphone, it’s impossible for them to go on 13 transmitters at the same time, but if it’s computerized and the and the voice synthesizer, then you can just hit it automatically and it immediately activates all the transmitters that it needs to activate and get that message out.
Todd DeVoe: So now everybody out there who’s listening is probably heard of the weather, radio voice, if you will, the EAS for tests that go across the sort of the same voice and then anybody who goes into the coast who wants to surf, you can get the surf report and that kind of stuff. So it’s really like a daily useful a thing, like I said when I was camping, we would have that playing in the morning to see what the weather’s going to be to make sure that we have the right clothes and we’re going to hike. So it’s really useful outside of just for emergencies, right?
Bruce Jones: Oh yeah. You can listen to a lot of farmers. A lot of ranchers have NOAA weather radio. If you watch that series on the discovery channel, the deadliest catch you frequently hear NOAA weather, radio playing in the wheelhouse because they’re, they’re very interested in the weather forecasts when they’re out, when they’re out on the ocean. So here on the west coast, we’ll get a lot of use and maritime, you have a lot of transmitters on the coast and in California. And Oregon that shoot out toward the ocean so that you can send that information, you know, 40, 50, 60 miles out into the Pacific
Todd DeVoe: That is a lot of reach
Bruce Jones: It Is! It is Lifesaving information. So, NOAA, weather radio has been around for 50, 60 years, but we know it works. And here’s the best thing. As an emergency manager, you can spend a lot of money buying outdoor sirens and various systems and apps and so forth, but NOAA weather radio is free for the state, for the county, for the city. It doesn’t cost a dime for the emergency managers to utilize it and make use of it. All you have to do is get your citizens to buy a receiver and you can get them at Walmart, a Walgreen’s you can get them at sporting goods stores, electronic stores . And there are probably 30 to $35. It’s not much for your, for your family’s safety and your family’s lives. $30 , $35. That’s nothing. So as an emergency manager, if you can encourage people in your, in your county, in your area to buy these devices, and then you form a good relationship with the national weather service, you can utilize the system to a very good advantage at no cost to your county.
Todd DeVoe: You know, one of the things that we’ll do too is we’ll put some links on the show notes, , and in the, uh, on the website to where you can link up if you guys are looking for places to purchase the Midland NOAA weather radio. I think we could do that for you guys and make that. You guys can find them. The cool part about it too is in the past, and I don’t know if this is still true, I don’t want everybody’s job on trying to find this, but we’ve had some grants that were able to purchase some weather radios specifically for the tsunami inundation zone. when I was at Orange County, California. And I think that was really great. And we’re able to give those. And they were like the little yellow ones, you can mobile around the used batteries. We have some of the white ones that you have here today, the desktop ones, and we’re able to get them out to the businesses that are down in the inundation zone. and to the residents that lived down there too. Now whether or not they implement it or not, I can’t tell you, but I know that we got them to them as well. Actually. and I think that’s really important. So there’s opportunities for emergency managers to find grants that can help purchase these for the residents of your jurisdiction.
Bruce Jones: You’re very right, Todd. And the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the FEMA HGMP Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, those funds which are given to your state for two years after any federally declared disaster, you get the hazard mitigation grant funds that goes to the state. And then you as a county emergency manager can file paperwork and write up a grant. And those funds will pay for 75 percent of the cost of NOAA weather radios. So we have some counties that will, they’ll get the grant, FEMA pays the 75 percent, the county pays the other 25 percent. We also have counties that say, okay, we have these radios, if you’re a county resident, come down to the courthouse on such and such a day and the resident has to pay that little 25 percent which comes out to like $8 or $9. They buy weather radio or we have counties and several counties in Kansas and Oklahoma have done this.
Bruce Jones: The FEMA money pays for 75 percent and then the county provides in kind services, which is maybe putting the batteries, the backup batteries in a, maybe distributing them around. The county will be at such and such library today. Show us that you’re a county resident and we’ll give you one for free. So that’s a very effective way of doing it. Then you’ve got hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding for 75 percent of the cost. You can come up with a creative way to cover the other 25 percent and then your donating (TIME) . You know, you’re distributing thousands of weather radios.
Todd DeVoe: Yeah, I think it’s really important to, I mean we’re always talking about how to message and things like this and I know that, you know, working through the mass notification systems that we have and, and Titan HST who’s one of our sponsors, is one of those mass notification companies, you know, and still there’s always a requirement or was always a step that the citizen or the resident has to take in order to partake in those, those things. And if we have multiple ways of doing this, such as the NOAA weather radio, your mass notification system. EAS on TV, you know, IPAWS through the wireless stuff. We’re doing our due diligence to get this information out to the resident. And that’s the important part. We can, I mean there’s only so much we can do. We, I don’t know if we’re ever going to hit 100 percent of the people, but if we can hit like 90 or 99 percent of the people, I mean that’s a win for us and hopefully they’ll be able to tell their neighbor, hey ding dong, we got an evacuation going on…
Bruce Jones: I, as, as a TV meteorologist, I’ve always advocated that people should have multiple and redundant ways of getting this information. You should sign up for reverse 911. You should download the TV stations APP. If the county has an APP, you should, you should sign up for all of those services that you can. You should listen for your outdoor sirens if you have, if you’re outdoors, you should watch the TV forecast. And especially in tornado alley. I used to tell my viewers now you need to watch the forecast in the morning and you need to watch the forecast in the afternoon and evening because things can change very rapidly. And then on top of that, if you’ll have a NOAA weather radio, and I said, you know, if you’ll do that, folks, this is me talking to my viewers. If you’ll do all of those things, I can almost guarantee you that you’ll never be surprised by an emergency.
Bruce Jones: You’re probably going to get the notification that you need because there’s nothing sadder than a guy who says the tornado came with no warning when in fact the warning had been issued 15 minutes ahead of time. He just didn’t hear it. You know, and so then you have to ask yourself, why didn’t this family here, the warning they could have saved their lives, their kids, because save their daughter’s life. Why didn’t they hear it? And it’s usually because they didn’t have multiple ways of getting the warning. They were. They thought they would hear the cell phone. They thought they’d hear the outdoor siren. Yeah. And even the NOAA weather radio transmitter may have been knocked off the air. Anything can happen. And as a meteorologist on tv, I’m like you, I wanted to go to bed at night thinking I have done everything in my possible power to protect my viewers and I hope they take that advice. And you’re right, you can’t reach them all. But once you’ve covered all those bases, you sure sleep better at night.
Todd DeVoe: That’s for sure. That is for sure. I’m always tell the story about when I was doing public outreach, when I was working in a city that was in the nuclear planning zone and every year in October we would do the sirens drill and the sirens in our case, didn’t tell people to do anything. It just said, hey, there’s an emergency going on now and we’re going to have to be broadcasted across the radio on, on what’s important. And so we’re at a city council meeting and this community meeting we’re at a community meeting and talk about the situation and this one lady, she raises her hand. She’s complaining that she didn’t know about the test that was going on and the sirens scared her. And I asked her, I said, well, look at, we did a magazine, you know, Edison puts out this magazine with this really gorgeous, glossy magazines, pretty big and has some good resources on the back that you could tear off.
Todd DeVoe: And she goes, oh, well I thought that was junk mail. So I threw it away. And we’re like, okay, well it was in our little local newspaper. She goes, I don’t read that. Well, we had it on the radio. I don’t listen to the stations. And then we had it on broadcasting on the, on the billboard signs that we have on the highways. And she’s like, oh, I don’t drive that area. I asked her straight up, I said, okay ma’am, outside of me going to your apartment and knocking on your door and saying this is happening, how do I contact someone like you? And I realized that point in in my career. I said, you know what, there’s only so much as an emergency manager that we can do. And as long as we hit all those points, we have to know we did our job. And the residents of your community have a responsibility and I think encouraging them to get those NOAA radios. I think that’s going to answer the question as well.
Bruce Jones: It is. And you know, it’s funny. People who are 50, 55, 60 years old, they buy NOAA weather radios religiously, they’re easy to sell NOAA weather radio on because of the same people that always fasten their seat belts. They always lock their door. They’ve got a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, you know, those people are safety minded. Our difficulty in the emergency management and in broadcasting has always been an in getting this message to the 30 somethings or 20 somethings that, you know, at that age you think you’re just going to live forever. And so I would say if you’re an emergency manager, , the young, the young couples who were in their twenties and thirties, they may not buy a NOAA weather radio without some real encouragement from you. I will say that after they had been hit by a tornado, a wind storm or a tsunami, yes, they’ll run right out and buy a weather radio.
Bruce Jones: But it’s just like people who buy a fire extinguisher after they’ve had their kitchen, we want you to get up before the kitchen catches fire. So if we can do that and get the word out that, uh, the NOAA weather radio network is our official federal warning system. It works, it works real well. It’s the fastest way to receive messages. People can’t hack into it. They can’t send false reports. It’s official coming directly from the National Weather Service and the people understand that their county emergency managers, even on a beautifully sunny day, could use NOAA weather radio to tell you about the train derailment and the chlorine gas leak. I think we’d get a lot more response from people.
Todd DeVoe: Right. I want to ask a couple of questions about Midland now since…to Be honest with you. I don’t know if. I don’t remember seeing any other manufacturer that, that makes the NOAA weather radios. But there might be. But let’s talk about Midland a little bit. How long has Midland been in this business?
Bruce Jones: Since the beginning of NOAA weather radio. Our company’s been around about 50 years. Previously it was a, can’t even think of the name escapes me now before it became Midland, but uh, you know, the company’s been around for quite a while. We’re based out of Kansas City and we do have the lion’s share of the NOAA radio production and sales. There are probably six or seven other companies that also produced NOAA weather radio, but I’m a meteorologist and my coworker and my office, Bruce Thomas, he’s also a former TV meteorologist. So Midland has pledged itself to getting the word out and educating people about why these devices are so important. We get letters and phone calls and emails every year and they fall into one or two categories. One thank you for the NOAA weather radio that saved us. And the other one is I wish we’d had one because we lost a family member and then now we know. So it’s, again, I get back to that point. If you’re an emergency manager, it’s important that you encourage everyone in your county that have multiple and redundant ways of getting this information. Cell phones are great. Outdoor sirens still work when you’re outdoors, you know the TV coming in and interrupting your dinner with a tornado warning, all of this stuff is important, but just encourage people to have more than one way of getting this.
Todd DeVoe: So now what do you today again, we can’t really show you guys what do you brought a couple of different models. You have the desktop model, which is what it looks like. Um, maybe about the size of a, like a large TV remote and so that’s very similar to it has an intent on it and you can plug that into your wall and battery backup,
Bruce Jones: It also has a battery back up
Todd DeVoe: and you can do an external antenna on that too right?
Bruce Jones: An external antenna. And you can also do an external alert for the deaf and hard of hearing. You can put a strobe light, you can put a strobe light or pillow shaker in there. So for the deaf and hard of hearing community, these desktop radios, these white desktop radios, we’ll have an external alert port also.
Todd DeVoe: Oh, that’s great!
Bruce Jones: And then this one here, this one, there’s one on here called the cloning port. This is where if an emergency manager buys 10,000 of these, you can put a wire in between them and you program one of these radios and program everything that’s wired up to it. So you could program thousands of weather radios in one afternoon. Programs set up for your county and you distribute them in. They’re all programmed the same way.
Todd DeVoe: How hard are these?
Bruce Jones: You can read the manual and follow up or you can call us, We walk folks through it, over the phone all the time, but honestly it’s a very easy thing to set up. You set the clock, you tell it what county you live in and you set it to the nearest NOAA weather, radio transmitters. So you’re getting a clear signal and that’s it. That’s all there is to it. There are some other things on this white desktop. You could go in here and say, I don’t want to hear amber alerts. I don’t want to hear flood watches. I don’t want to hear flood warnings. You can turn off a lot of things, but you can never turn off the biggies. And Todd, the biggies are a tornado warning, hurricane warning, flash flood warning, a nuclear attack, the really biggie’s civil emergency, you can’t turn them off. They don’t even show up in the menu because those are locked in public alert certification. A public alert certified radio has that battery backup. It has to visually give you the alert for the depth, has to have an external alert port for the deaf and it has to have an, a 73 decibel alert tone to make sure that it wakes you up. So if that’s the desktop.
Todd DeVoe: Now the cool part about this too is this desktop, is that when you were going for your storm ready certificate from NOAA and you have one of those weather radios in your alert area that covers your weather alerts. That actually is something that will get you that certificate from NOAA being storm ready,
Bruce Jones: right? And then, uh, you can do on college campuses if they want to be storm ready, they need to put a NOAA weather radio in every building, at least one in every building. So every dorm should have one and then every building should have to be a storm ready campus. But yeah, there’s a lot of it that’s a great partnership between the National Weather Service and the county emergency management and there are a lot of counties that are storm ready counties now and it truly makes a difference.
Todd DeVoe: And so then you also brought another model which is like a little handheld radio, uh, with a flashlight associated with little clock on it. This looks like something that you, you’d through like maybe in your go bag, something like that. Your disaster bag in. Is this solar as well?
Bruce Jones: Yes, it has a little solar panel on top that’s kind of a trickle charger. You’re not going to be able to completely charge your battery with this. But uh, you know, it’s a, it’s a little trickle charger and you’ve got to crank on them.
Todd DeVoe: Oh, crank to. So, so these are perfect. This is something like we’re telling our, our CERT members, our RACES members to have something like this inside their kit ready to go and this is the perfect size handheld and you can use it as a flashlight as well.
Bruce Jones: This is actually five of the items that you should have in your kit. It’s AM, it’s FM, it’s NOAA weather radio. It’s a flashlight and you can use it to recharge your, your smartphone by plugging into the USB jack. So these, these emergency crank radios and there are several manufacturers that have them. They have a rechargeable battery in there. And what I do with mine is I just plug them into the wall, plug into that USB port, keep mine charged 100 percent all the time and I keep it in the kitchen or it’s kind of sunny and that kind of helps to keep that photo cell charging as well. But we put a cree led light bulb in here. It’s the brightest flashlight. And then you’ve got AM FM and noaa weather radio. So this is five of the items. This is like the Swiss army radio five of the items you’re supposed to have in your kit and it’s. It fits, it fits in just about in the palm of my hand.
Todd DeVoe: Yeah, that’s a pretty nice little radio right there. And again, it’s the Midland NOAA radio and SAME on it as well or…
Bruce Jones: no, we did not put SAME on there and I’ll tell you why. Todd, that radio was designed to be used in a hurricane zone where people are evacuating and when you evacuate, you may not even know what county you’re in anymore, so you don’t have time or the inclination to set it to go off for just a single county. You just want to know what’s going on where you are right now. So we specifically left SAME off of that particular unit.
Todd DeVoe: And real quick, can you explain to somebody else who doesn’t know what SAME is?
Bruce Jones: Oh yeah. Well the first generation of weather radios, people bought them and then they unplugged them. The asked them why the unplugged them, and they said the radio was going off all the time. And so the national weather service changed their transmitters and they used what they call Specific Area Message Encoding, which is SAME. And basically that allows you to set the radio to only go off for the county that you live in. Now there’s some people that like to put some surrounding counties as well. You can if you want, but it’s going to go off more often. But if you want that kind of situational awareness, I get it. Some people do, but generally on an SAME radio, like this white desktop radio, you’re just going to set it for the county that you live in. If you don’t want to hear amber alerts, you turn those off. Don’t want to your flood watches, you turn those off, but the rest of the time you just plug it in, leave the power switch on the side on it, sits there silently.
Bruce Jones: It doesn’t make noise. It sits silently and monitors the NOAA broadcasts and. If they tell it to come on, it’ll come on automatically was an alert tone and then it’ll just start talking. National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Sonoma County, California,
Todd DeVoe: and there’s an alert that goes off beep, like really loud, right?
Bruce Jones: On that white desktop. It’s an 80 decibels tone so you can hear it. I’ve set it off it at conventions, we’re in where we’re in a convention hall and I’ve set it off and people across the room stop and look and go what’s going on for. And that’s what it was designed for because if your kids are watching a DVD on TV and they’ve got the sound turned up or if you’re running your vacuum cleaner or if you’re out in the garage or you’re out on the back deck and you want to hear when this thing goes on.
Bruce Jones: So it really is loud enough that in a multistory home you can hear it. It’s loud enough that if I’m out on my back deck after at one in the kitchen when it goes off I can hear it and it lets me know that there’s something going on I need to know about.
Todd DeVoe: So Bruce if the emergency manager wanted to get a hold of you. How would they find you or information about your company?
Bruce Jones: www.MidlandUSA.com is our website and you know, honestly, I’m paid by Midland, but I don’t care what brand of weather radio people buy, they should buy a good quality one, but I’m just a big fan of the national weather service and their weather radio network and I’d like to see every home in America have one of these devices because to me it’s like I said, it’s a no brainier, but for a lot of people you’re going to have to give it to them as a Christmas gift.
Bruce Jones: Honestly, you know, your mom and dad, you may have to give them this as a Christmas gift because they may not feel the need to go out and get one. They said, well, I live in Palm Springs, California. Why do I need one? You get wind storms, you get wildfires. You have trains coming through Palm Springs that carry a lot of chemicals. You have trucks on the interstate that carry a lot of chemicals, you know, Lincoln, Nebraska, the county in Lincoln, Nebraska. Years ago at 2:00 in the morning, they had five cars derail on the train yard in the center of Lincoln and they were marked chlorine and they didn’t know if they were full or not. They set off at two in the morning. They set off the NOAA weather radios in Lancaster County, Nebraska and said, stay indoors, turn off your air conditioner. This was two in the morning who would have known to get up and turn off their air conditioner, who would have known not to walk outside to let their dog out to take a leak, but at two in the morning they could alert people and say, there’s been a train derailment with chlorine tank cars stay indoors.
Bruce Jones: As luck would have it, there was no gas release, but that’s a good example of why somebody here in Sunny Palm Springs, California, which is where we’re recording this right now, would need to have a NOAA weather radio. Civil Emergencies, somebody poisons the water supply. How are you going to know when you get up in the morning to take your shower that somebody put acid or something into the water, so no idea. So that’s the importance of having these little gizmos. It’s one device that does one thing. It listens for the national weather service to alert it. And when it goes off in your home, oh, there’s something I need to pay attention to.
Todd DeVoe: So one of the traditions that we have here on weekly’s, we ask our guests. What book, books or publication do you recommend to somebody who is in emergency management? So what book would you recommend?
Bruce Jones: Um, you know, there was a great book called Unthinkable, and it was written by social scientists who researched various disasters in ask the question, who survives and who doesn’t? Who survives the fire in the nightclub, who survives the plane crash, who survives a in a flash flood, whether it’s hiking in the Canyon and here comes a wall of water. It was very, very interesting book, because primarily the people who survive in these nightclub fires are plane crashes, were the ones who were paying attention in one. Somebody said there’s an emergency. They switched in their brain into, okay, I’m going to be in a preparedness mode, and good example of this is when you get on the airplane, I fly a lot when you get on the airplane and they get up to do the little schpiel about where the exits are and how to, how to put the vet life vest on.
Bruce Jones: If you land on the water listening to that. I know I’m not gonna learn anything new, but what that does, it puts my mind into the mindset of you know what an accident is possible on this flight and if it happens, I’m not gonna sit there and a state of disbelief glued to my seat, not moving. I understand now that they’ve briefed me that if there is a possibility of an accident on this airplane, I’m to do something because they’ll go in after these airplane crashes and find people still strapped in their seats who could have gotten out, but they didn’t even undo their seatbelt and get up and go to the exit because in their mind they couldn’t conceive of there being an accident on this flight. And the, a very famous situation was the, I think was the Hollywood nightclub and outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, big fire and you know, the, the MC got up on stage and said there’s a fire and told people to get out.
Bruce Jones: But it was one of those night clubs that had grown over the years and it was just kind of serpentine. They just added on and added on. So it was hard to find your way out. But it’s. The folks had listened to that guy when he first made the announcement. Probably everybody could have gotten out. But when the firefighters went back in after the fire, they found people want one group have two couples still sitting at their table, slumped over the table, dead from inhaling the gases they hadn’t even bothered to get up and in the room they were in was the room where the MC got up on stage and said there’s a fire somewhere in the building. Let’s move out. It wasn’t even in that room when he made that announcement and yet they sat there and refuse to believe that this night club could possibly be on fire until the smoke just rapidly overcame them. So I think it’s called the unthinkable. Is the name of the book. I don’t know the author.
Todd DeVoe: It’s Amanda Ripley
Bruce Jones: Yes. Yes it is Amanda Ripley. You know that book isn’t a great book. That has changed my way of thinking and when I get on a plane with my wife and my kids, I tell them, just put your magazine down, put your device down, listen to what they’re saying and count how many rows back and how many rolls forward you’d need to move in. Once you’ve done that. I think their mindset is, oh, if something were to happen, I would move.
Todd DeVoe: Yeah. It’s funny you say that because when I go to the movies with my son, that’s the thing that we do together and I always look at the exits. I look at the exits This is the primary. If this is blocked and if we get separated, you know where the car’s parked and we’re going to meet at the car. So we always have that little plan and we articulate that out loud when we’re sitting there and it’s this go to the movies, but we make sure it’s in. I make sure it’s in his head
Bruce Jones: and it’s not paranoia. It’s just setting that idea in their head that you know, if something could happen and if it does happen, I’m, I’m, I’m in the action mode. I’m not in the denial mode is not important.
Todd DeVoe: That’s a great book. It’s a really good recommendation. So before we let you go, is there anything that you’d like to say directly to the emergency manager?
Bruce Jones: Well, yeah. We have a lot of areas in the country where a lot of people have NOAA weather radios, primarily tornado alley. We have areas in the country where not too many people have tornado… NOAA weather radios. I would encourage you to work with the National Weather Service and work with your TV stations to encourage more people to buy the weather radios and then you as the emergency manager take it upon yourselves to use the system more often for fire warning, a dam watch when there’s a possibility of dam might break this. You can send out a damn watch and US geological survey in the next couple of years. We’ll roll out the shake alert on the west coast. They’ll be able to broadcast those on NOAA weather radio too. There is an earthquake warning and EQM already programmed in to these weather radios. The Mexicans use it. In Mexico. They have a system called Sar macs I can never remember, and they use. They have an earthquake warning system that activates weather radios with alert tone 20 or 30 seconds before.
Speaker 4: Awesome.
Speaker 3: What I’m hoping is that US Geological Survey, we’ll use that their shake alert out here on the west coast who will use that ability to send it out on NOAA weather radio and it’ll be one more way that people.
Speaker 4: Well, Bruce, thank you so much for your time today. It was a pleasure meeting you here and thanks for being on a weekly.
Speaker 3: Thank you so much and thanks for helping us get the word out that NOAA weather radio saves lives.
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