Severe weather warnings in general. Especially in the countries where the Emergency Broadcast systems were originally developed for Atomic Hate and The End of the World as We Know It, that the systems were coopted into not only peaceful use but that they (despite being a Most Annoying Sound and an example of Hell Is That Noise) often provide timely warning of severe weather has saved many lives. If you want to know just *how* many lives have been saved by these, compare the Tri-State Tornado, a tornado event with zero warning aside from sighting the tornado, to the 1999 tornado outbreak which was covered with constant warnings. 695 deaths happened in the Tri-State Tornado, 36 in the 1999 tornado outbreak. Even in worse tornado outbreaks in less prepared areas (the 2011 outbreak which was worse than the 1970s Super Outbreak), warnings and advances in warning technology have still ensured far fewer deaths than would happen with no warning at all or with insufficient warnings.
In the span of 14 years, things have gotten better in warning technology to the point where when another string of tornadoes hit Oklahoma, particularly a second F5 tornado that hit the same place as the one in 1999, only 24 were killed. Yes, that's only 12 less than the 1999 tornado, but there's also the fact that, prior to hit hitting a vastly populated area, they had sixteen minutes of warning time to get into shelters or protective positions.
If you can't read it for some reason, here's what it basically says: that skyscrapers will sway dangerously, some knocked down, that people, pets and livestock would be killed by winds, that almost every single home in the hurricane's path would suffer near-complete or complete structural failure... it's no wonder that it worked.
IF YOU ARE RELUCTANT, THINK ABOUT YOUR LOVED ONES, THINK ABOUT THE EMERGENCY RESPONDERS WHO WILL BE UNABLE TO REACH YOU WHEN YOU MAKE THE PANICKED PHONE CALL TO BE RESCUED, THINK ABOUT THE RESCUE/RECOVERY TEAMS WHO WILL RESCUE YOU IF YOU ARE INJURED OR RECOVER YOUR REMAINS IF YOU DO NOT SURVIVE.
In particular, the warnings that went out for the Worcester tornado of 1953. At this time, it was thought that warning people about potential severe weather would lead to panic, so severe weather warnings were banned until 1938 and highly discouraged for years after that. Despite this, when the same system that produced a devastating tornado in Flint, Michigan was due to come through New England, both newspapers and radios carried the first severe weather warnings in New England history, and they risked their careers to do so.
Related to that, Worcester gets a CMOA for its response: not a single incidence of looting could be found during investigations of the aftermath.
Indeed, modern tornado forecasting started with a CMOA: On March 20, 1948, a tornado hammered Tinker Air Force Base near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, causing $10 million 1948 U.S. dollars ($94 million 2011 U.S. dollars) in damage. The Air Force decided that it would be prudent to find out if tornado prediction was possible, and if so, to then implement a prediction system. The base's meteorologists, Robert C. Miller and Ernest J. Fawbush, were put in charge of this effort. On March 25, 1948, the two discovered that atmospheric conditions were very similar to what they were five days' prior, as well as on a number of days that saw tornado outbreaks. They were still unsure whether a tornado would come roaring in so soon after the previous occasion (the odds of a tornado hitting a spot less than a week after it was hit by a previous tornado areastronomicallylow), but nonetheless decided to issue the warning anyway. Sure enough, later that night a tornado hit Tinker; this time, however, the warning meant that the base personnel were able to safely secure aircraft and equipment well ahead of the storm. Damage from this storm came out at only $6 million 1948 U.S. dollars ($55 million 2011 U.S. dollars).
When Hurricane Charley threatened Florida in 2004, it was first predicted to hit Tampa Bay. But in the morning of August 13, local meteorologists in southwest and central Florida cut into broadcasts and stated that their models were suggesting the storm was accelerating to a landfall around Port Charlotte—over 100 miles further south—with an eventual path over Orlando that night. It was several hours before the NWS caught on, but it was several hours extra preparation and evacuation time that undoubtedly saved lives, especially around Charlotte Harbor, which experienced storm surge powerful enough to cut an island in half.
As annoyed as we are with them in the US, any time the Amber Alerts actually work and a child is safely recovered.
The weather and fire emergency alerts in Australia are really essential. We're constantly at risk of bush fires, and we have some of the most bipolar, psychotic weather on the planet. The recent emergency alerts and the emergency organisation when cyclone Yasi hit the coast were particularly amazing. Despite Yasi being on the same scale as hurricane Katrina, for more than a hundred kilometres around people were able to prepare, and with the top-notch evacuation efforts and organising shelter for everyone who couldn't get out of the way there was minimal loss of life, even with extensive property damage and the levelling of entire houses.
One person died. Carbon Monoxide poisoning from a generator.
Minutes before the Halifax Explosion in 1917, Vince Coleman made one of these by performing a Heroic Sacrifice. He was warned that a munitions ship was on fire in the nearby Narrows Strait, drifting toward shore; and instead of abandoning his post as a railway telegraph operator, he continued to send out warnings to passenger trains, saving hundreds of lives. He was still in the telegraph shack when the explosion occurred, and was killed instantly.
Copied from the Real LifeHeroic Sacrifice page, this example: Following the March 11, 2011 earthquake, Miki Endo, a young Crisis Management worker in Minami Sanriku near Sendai, broadcasted a tsunami warning and was credited with saving the lives of nearly 7,000 people in her town. She stayed at the mic warning people to flee until the 10-meter wave crushed the building she was broadcasting from.
Fujio Koshita, at 57 the senior Otsuchi firefighter, died standing on top of the firehouse ringing the old warning bell, because the March 11th earthquake killed all electrical power in the town. His bell was heard ringing through the town until the tsunami swept him, and the firehouse, away.
In the aftermath of the 2006 Hanukkah Eve Windstorm, most of the greater Seattle area was without power. Eight people died, and many more required critical medical care, due to carbon monoxide poisoning from running generators or barbecues in their homes. While the authorities put out warnings against this, there was a fear that immigrants who did not speak English well might not understand the warnings. In response, the Seattle Times put out a warning on the front page of the magazine in five languages not to run generators indoors.
On the weekends when Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy hit, local TV stations ran nothing but news for three days solid. The anchors, reporters, and meteorologists all took long shifts, and many reporters faced storm damage in their hotels. Viewers were told when and how to prepare, and when to stay put. WABC-TV gradually lessened its news broadcast time during the work week following Hurricane Sandy. Here is a montage covering the week when Sandy hit.