Oncoming Storm: Mandatory Radio In Kentucky?


Yesterday in the Kentucky state legislature, a bill (HB 156) was passed in committee and is now on its way to the full House of Representatives. What is HB 156? Stephanie Steitzer of the Louisville Courier-Journal reports from the state’s General Assembly:

After tornadoes last week killed seven Kentuckians — all of them in mobile homes — a legislative committee passed a bill yesterday to require emergency weather radios be provided as part of the sale of such homes.

Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, the Lexington Democrat who sponsored House Bill 156, said statistics show that occupants of mobile homes are 2,500 times more likely to die during severe storms than those of homes built on site.

With almost 600, 000 Kentucky residents residing in mobile homes, that statistic is cause for worry. As always with natural disasters, advance warning is incredibly important and in some cases can make the difference between life and death.

HB 156 would require retailers of new or used mobile homes to furnish the radios, which cost about $15.

T.G. Shuck, chief meteorologist at WKYT-TV in Lexington, said during yesterday’s meeting of the Local Government Committee that the radios can be programmed so they alert people only when severe weather is about to strike in their counties.

He said radios last week gave people from 30 minutes to an hour’s notice that severe weather was about to strike in the middle of the night.

The bill is modeled after a law in Indiana that was passed after a 2005 tornado struck a mobile home park in Evansville, killing 20 people.

Representatives of Kentucky’s manufactured housing industry are set to fight to bill on the grounds that if passed it should be applied to all homes, not just mobile homes. Which side will be victorious is a question for the full Kentucky House of Representatives. Whether it passes or fails one things is certain: the importance of radio in an emergency is hard to overstate.

Do you think weather radios should be mandatory? If so, then why? If not, why not?

Public Domain Photo Courtesy ofOAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) via [pingnews].


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2 Responses to “Oncoming Storm: Mandatory Radio In Kentucky?”

  1. snpnmnmi Says:

    Why should any government body have to MANDATE someone to take care of themselves? I’m in my late thirties and have known since my early teens that living in a trailer could be dangerous because of tornadoes. I’m confident that most folks know. If they don’t want to spend $15 to protect themselves, why should a company be made to pass that cost along with the purchase of a home? This is one more way to take responsibility away from people and I don’t see the purpose.

  2. George Williams Says:

    Thanks for chiming in! As I stated above the importance of emergency radio can hardly be overstated, something I know well as a veteran of Hurricane Katrina. This does not mean that I am coming out either for or against HB 156.

    As with any issue involving a mandate the arguments are complex and run the gamut from civil liberties to problems with enforcement (if it is passed). What makes this interesting is the fact that they are legislating radio as a medium.

    There are valid points to both sides of the argument, and it is far from certain which way the Kentucky House of Reps will go on the issue. I am sure that as we follow this story we will see the same general arguments that are made whenever the issue of any government mandate presents itself.

    Hopefully we will see more people share their opinions on this subject here on Radio2020, I would love to see what people out there think on the subject.

    Again, thanks for joining the conversation and I hope we see more of you!

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