Radio station to help during emergencies

In an effort to keep Redmond better prepared in times of emergency, the city will continue to implement and improve its Emergency Advisory Radio System, or EARS, which is found at 1650 AM on the radio dial.

In an effort to keep Redmond better prepared in times of emergency, the city will continue to implement and improve its Emergency Advisory Radio System, or EARS, which is found at 1650 AM on the radio dial.

The system, which came into existence after the debilitating windstorm in December of 2006, is able to broadcast warnings about weather, traffic and emergencies across the city 24 hours a day.

Under the direction of Emergency Manager Robert Schneider, Redmond was outfitted with the ECC, or Emergency Coordination Center, at the public safety building.

Furnished with the newest equipment and technology, the ECC allows city officials to keep in contact with various emergency response outlets to provide the best and most up-to-date service for Redmond residents.

The project is largely staffed by volunteers with experience in amateur radio and is and 100 percent grant-funded.

“We have citizens that have a volunteers’ spirit and want to give back to the community,” said Schneider, who provided a presentation about EARS to City Council members at Tuesday’s meeting. “We wanted to give them a vehicle to be able to do that.”

An issue concerning whether EARS would be able to be broadcast under an FM signal was brought up by Councilman Hank Myers.

Schneider cited cost as the main reason why dual-broadcasting would be unlikely, but he said he would be willing to look into ways to make it available on the FM dial in the future.

For now, Schneider wants to expand the system to include freeway alerts and make 1650 AM have a more universal outreach, citing the large number of out-of-town residents who make up Redmond’s working population.

“We are starting to make this known instead of keeping it Redmond’s best secret,” said council vice president Pat Vache.