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Posted on: March 30, 2021

City to Distribute 12K NOAA Weather Radios to Residents to Enhance Emergency Alerting Capabilities

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The City of Santa Rosa plans to distribute 12,000 All Hazards NOAA Weather Radios (NWR) to residents at drive-thru distribution events and via non-profit partnerships throughout the spring and summer. The NWRs build on the City’s existing emergency alert and warning tools, providing an additional way to alert Santa Rosa residents during a large-scale emergency.

The City was awarded funds to procure and distribute the weather radios to residents in the City of Santa Rosa thanks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Following multiple large-scale emergencies requiring widespread community evacuations the last few years, the City pursued this grant opportunity to add further redundancy to its emergency alerting capabilities. An NWR is a low-cost home alerting tool that can be remotely activated by the National Weather Service to broadcast life-saving warnings issued by first responders. When the power is out or cell phones don’t work, an NWR can still get emergency messages to those who need the information.

Beginning this week and over the next couple of months, households in the Santa Rosa city limits will receive an emergency preparedness guide (English and Spanish) in the mail from the City of Santa Rosa containing important information about local alerting tools, evacuation zone information, evacuation preparedness tips, and a go-bag packing list. The mailer will also include information on when and how a household can receive a free weather radio from the City through a planned drive-thru distribution event. This information will vary from phase to phase, and it is important that residents review their individual mailer closely. The first phase of distribution events is organized according to the City’s designated evacuation zone areas and are targeted to those zones located in or near the City’s Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) area. The City will expand distribution to other areas of the City over the next couple of months and while supplies last. The City is also partnering with several non-profit service providers to ensure radios are distributed directly to vulnerable populations within the community.

“NWRs are reliable, safe, and not dependent on cell phone towers,” explained Mayor Chris Rogers. “The City is pleased to provide another means of emergency alerting to our residents, especially to those who may be impacted by power outages and not able to receive traditional alerts through other means.”

The City was awarded up to $318,068.25 from FEMA through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for this Rapid Warning System Project. HMGP provides funding to state, local, tribal and territorial governments so they can rebuild in a way that reduces, or mitigates, future disaster losses in their communities. HMGP is a matching grant award program, and the City’s award amount for this project is the 75 percent federal share. The City’s non-federal share contributing match for the project is up to $106,022.75.

To view the schedule for the first phase of weather radio distribution events and for more information on emergency preparedness in the City of Santa Rosa, please visit srcity.org/ReadySR.

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