After five months of tumultuous weather in Indiana and around the country, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) is again offering free weather radios to select Putnam County residents.
The IDHS weather radio program is designed to place radios in manufactured homes, as well as in those of homebound and low-income residents. Sixty radios are currently available to qualifying county residents.
"This is your best resource, even though you have sirens," Putnam County Emergency Management director Kim Hyten said. "Those sirens are supposed to be early warning to those outside, not necessarily inside. With these radios, you place the resource inside the people's homes."
The idea is for the radios to be dispersed throughout the county to give a sort of network for weather alerts. Once radios are placed in certain homes, they can establish some sort of call system to friends and neighbors.
"It does provide a quicker method of alert for families," Hyten said.
The radios are designed to notify residents of a plethora of natural and civil emergencies, ranging from severe storms to child abductions.
Qualified residents interested in receiving one of the free radios may contact Sandy Amers at the Putnam County EMA/Planning Department at 653-5727 to make an appointment. The process will include determining eligibility as well as taking name and address information as part of a roster for the state.
Hyten said the roster will serve only to help the state know that the radios are being distributed and if more are needed. It could help Putnam County in qualifying for more in the future and broadening the scope of those who qualify.
He also added that all families -- even those not qualifying for the program -- should consider installing weather radios in their homes.
"I encourage every family to buy one, even if you have to save money each week to do it," Hyten said.