Sun City creates emergency radio station

THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. - 1620 AM is Sun City's new lifeline.

"It's a low power am radio station, the type you see in the mountains for road conditions or around airport parking. It broadcasts on a weak signal but covers three to five miles. Licensed by the FCC," Chuck Holliman, Sun City resident and creator of the Low Power Radio Committee, said. 

Holliman said a major outage in 2011 sparked the need for this outlet.   

"It was 113 degrees that day, many of our residents needed cooling or electrical needs and the power had come back on at our main clubhouse but no where else in the community. But we had no way of communicating that to our community," he said. 

Now, everyone in Sun City has access to important safety information. Various signs freckle the community with the station number, and they will flash during an emergency.

You can get the radio station in your car, but your best bet is a portable battery powered radio like this. 

"It's a great assist to our county emergency operations, that's why the county was so pleased to join and help in a license application to make this a possibility," Supervisor John Benoit said. 

Residents said feel safer knowing they will be in the know during an emergency. 

"I've been involved in emergency preparedness for six years, and this fills a vital need. We have a great organization. Communication was a weakness, as highlighted with the power outage two years ago. This fills a major gap," Holliman said. 

"As we age as a population, we use some ability to be mobile. It's critical for neighbors to be able to help each other. It'll give more information to find out what's going on," Robert Thomas. 

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