One of the most important preparedness tools you can have in your home or workplace is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio. The NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards network is a nationwide system of radio transmitters that continuously broadcast weather information from the nearest National Weather Service office. These transmitters use specific radio frequencies that are reserved for them alone and don’t broadcast on normal commercial (AM/FM) frequencies. Conversely, normal commercial radios can’t receive these weather radio frequencies.
A NOAA weather radio is a radio receiver specifically made to be your link to this national weather forecasting and warning system. When set up properly, a weather radio can silently monitor the network for local alerts, then automatically switch itself on when the National Weather Service sends out a severe weather watch or warning for your area.
While older weather radios received every alert for an entire broadcast area, newer models can be programmed to alert you only if an alert affects a specific county. This cuts down the number of “false alarms” and ensures that every emergency alert is relevant to you personally. Depending on the model of radio, you may need to program it with a six-digit code identifying your home county and/or select a specific broadcast frequency. For Fayette County, the county code (“SAME code”) is 021067 and the frequency is 162.400.
Get One Today!
You can purchase a NOAA weather radio at most local groceries, pharmacies, and home goods retailers for about $30. DEM also holds giveaway drawings at many public events where we have an information booth, and weather radios are among the most common items we offer.
You can contact us if you need assistance setting up your weather radio.
Once your weather radio is set up, be sure to change its backup batteries regularly. Most weather radios are designed to run off wall power under normal conditions, so rely on the backup batteries only during power outages.
See NOAA’s weather radio page for the current status of transmitters across the country.
If you need to program an older weather radio for a specific county or counties, refer to NOAA’s county-by-county listing of location codes.
If you know someone with a hearing impairment, see NOAA’s page on special-needs weather radios.
Disclaimer: The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and the LFUCG Division of Emergency Management do not endorse any goods or services mentioned in our blog posts, social media statements, press releases, or website content. Any mention of commercial products is for informational purposes only.