AUSTIN (KXAN) — For years, meteorologists have been telling us to get a weather radio, but chances are you may have ignored that advice. However, the last few weeks of severe weather in Central Texas have been a strong reminder to pick one up, and it could save your life.

Meteorologist Nick Bannin spoke with Bruce Jones with Midland Weather Radios about the importance of the device. You can buy a weather radio at most major retailers (Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, etc.).

Watch the interview above or read the transcript below to learn more.

NICK BANNIN, METEOROLOGIST, KXAN NEWS: Bruce, people might not know what’s a weather radio.

BRUCE JONES, METEOROLOGIST, MIDLAND WEATHER RADIOS: Well, the National Weather Service runs a network of more than 1000 transmitters nationwide that broadcasts nothing but weather information. 24/7 365. A weather radio is like an indoor tornado siren. It listens to that broadcast silently. But if the National Weather Service or your county emergency manager needs to alert you, this radio goes off automatically with an alert tone, and then gives you the message officially from the National Weather Service.

BANNIN: People may think now that they get everything from their phone, their phone will wake them up. I imagine that’s not always the case.

Weather Radios could help save your life during severe weather. (Courtesy: Midland Weather Radios)

JONES: Yeah, we’ve had a lot of instances where if a cell tower goes down, your cell phone’s not going to receive a message and that happened in Cookeville, Tennessee. Two years ago, a tornado came into town at about one o’clock in the morning. National Weather Service had a 10-minute lead time on their tornado warning. But two major cell phone towers were not operating that night.

People who went to bed thinking that this would wake them up did not receive any alert at all. Folks with an NOAA Weather Radio had 10 minutes warning that that tornado was coming EF four tornado 19 fatalities at one o’clock in the morning, some of them found dead in their beds, unaware that that tornado was coming toward them.

BANNIN: So how does it work, exactly? You buy one of these radios, is it easy to set up?

JONES: It’s easy. There’s programming in there that guides you through. You just tell it what county you live in, you tune it to the local transmitter, and you leave it plugged in. It has battery backup. Once you’ve got it, set it up, set up, you plug it in, you leave it alone, and it’ll run itself just like your smoke detectors do.

BANNIN: Now imagine you can set it so that flood advisories say aren’t going to wake you up in the middle of the night, but a flash flood warning tornado warning or destructive severe thunderstorm warning could wake you up.

JONES: You know, when you look for a weather radio, look for the weather radio that has the public alert logo on it. One of the things about a public alert certified weather radio, you can tell it where you live and you can tell it the alerts that you don’t want to be awakened for all alerts.