The Duncan Banner
About 75 weather radios have been plugged in at schools, daycare centers and nursing homes throughout Stephens County. And Stephens County Emergency Management workers still have several more to go.
In all, the county received 105 weather radios to distribute. The radios were the result of a grant from about 1 1/2 years ago to provide more communication for Southwest Oklahoma. County Emergency Management Director Gary Ball said most entities and organizations approached to about having weather radios set up have provided positive feedback.
“We had one nursing home say they didn’t want one,” Ball said. “The rest have been overwhelmed. They don’t cost them anything.”
The grant covered the entire cost of the radios, meaning the county didn’t have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses. This made it easier to get the weather radios to distribute.
And those radios may come in handy. Ball said storm season used to be more predictable (moving through the months of May, June and July). But weather patterns have changed he said. Weather is becoming more unpredictable.
“Storm season is now 12 months a year,” Ball said. “We try to be prepared for everything.”
In fact, a severe weather system had formed Thursday in the central northern region of the United States — Iowa, Illinois and Michigan.
To set up the weather radios, Ball and Don Hamer, who works for Ball, have gone to various entities throughout Stephens County to not only install, but to make sure every weather radio is properly configured.
Ball said there have only been three instances where the weather radios didn’t work like they should for the location. For those three places, external antennas were added to boost the radio frequencies.
Additionally, every weather radio has a backup battery source in case power goes out. The battery recharges when the power comes back on.
“We hope to be done with all of them next week,” Ball said.