TAVARES — The Lake County Department of Public Safety, Emergency Management Division, is alerting residents that on Thursday, Nov. 6, at 10 a.m. the National Weather Service (NWS) will send out a statewide non-emergency message via NOAA weather radios to test a new system.
The new system, HazCollect, aims to make weather radios a true all-hazards warning device. HazCollect allows authorized officials at the federal, state and local levels to submit messages for broadcast over NWS systems for the purpose of warning or informing the public. Examples of how the Lake County Emergency Management Division could utilize the new system are to alert residents of a wildfire, hazardous-materials threat or evacuation.
According to the NWS Web site (www.nws.noaa.gov), current NWS systems address non-weather emergency messages, such as chemical spills and AMBER alerts, but they must be manually transcribed. While currently operational, these messages are prone to processing delays and human error. In some cases, emergency managers manually create the text messages and then call the local weather forecast office with the information. The manually created messages are subject to typographical and grammatical errors when transcribed and composed upon reporting to the weather forecast office.
The HazCollect system will provide an automated capability to streamline the creation, authentication, collection and dissemination of non-weather emergency messages in a quick and secure fashion. The HazCollect system is a comprehensive solution for the centralized collection and efficient distribution of non-weather emergency messages to the NWS dissemination infrastructure, the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and other national systems.
"Thunderstorms, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, bomb scares, chemical spills and brush fires — these are just a few of the potential hazards we all face in Lake County," said Jerry Smith, Director of the Lake County Emergency Management Division. "Having a battery operated, tone-alert NOAA Weather Radio in your home is like having your own personal tornado siren — only it will alert you of all these impending dangers. In every Lake County home, a NOAA Weather Radio should be as common as a smoke detector."
For more information about weather radios, call the Lake County Emergency Management Division at (352) 343-9420.