NOAA 2001-R250
Contact: Ron Trumbla


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the Department of Commerce, will present the "Mark Trail/NOAA Weather Radio" public service award to 1the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., May 23. TEMA is being honored for placing NOAA Weather Radios, the voice of the National Weather Service, in every school throughout the state.

Now in its fifth year, the awards program honors individuals, organizations and states that use or provide NOAA Weather Radio receivers and transmitters to save lives and property. Fifteen award recipients will be recognized this year.

Beginning in February 2000, TEMA Director John D. White, Jr. spearheaded a campaign to locate NOAA Weather Radios in 1,769 elementary, middle and high schools in Tennessee. If severe weather threatens during the school day, this effort assures early warning alerts will provide school officials immediate access to the weather information they need to make decisions about the safety of Tennessee's nearly one million schoolchildren.

"The combination of the National Weather Service's modernization program which has improved our severe weather detection and forecasting capabilities, and expansion of our Weather Radio network – is a proven formula for saving lives," said Bill Proenza, director of the weather service southern region.

The Mark Trail awards are named for the nationally syndicated comic strip character which serves as the campaign symbol for the NOAA Weather Radio program. Since 1995, Jack Elrod, writer and illustrator of Mark Trail, and King Features Syndicate have been strong advocates for publicizing severe weather safety through the use of Weather Radios.

Elrod's Mark Trail character has been educating the public about the environment since 1950. He has taught readers to appreciate the beauty of nature while respecting its hazards. In recent years, the strip's education message has included the fact that anyone listening to the NOAA Weather Radio has instant access to the same life saving weather reports and emergency information provided to meteorologists and emergency personnel.

NOAA Weather Radios are manufactured under a variety of brand names and are available at most electronics stores.