Hey all- sorry for the late feedback here- I wanted to get some info out here- bear with me here
The radio is required to be turned on (activated), even if it is silenced, for all warnings and SOME watches: "Tone alarm: The National Weather Service will send a 1050 Hz tone alarm before most warning and many watch messages are broadcast. The tone will activate all the receivers which are equipped to receive it, even if the audio is turned off. This is especially useful for warnings which occur during the night when most people are asleep. (Public Alert ™ - required)"
Here is some more general information about residential use radios:http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/nwrrcvr.htm
And more information about approved use of the "All-Hazards" logo:http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/conditions.htm
Regarding the high volume of the automatic alert, when the receiver receives the tone to "activate" (turn on) because of an official WARNING (and/or some watches), the receiver must set audio at a high level, as also described in "public alert requirements" This is the specification for audio level (db):
"Voice out put at least 77 dB at 1 meter when receiving a 1 kHz tone Audio Alert out put at least 77 dB at 1 meter over 500 to 1500 kHz range"
Basically, regardless of what audio level you have chosen on the radio, WARNINGS and some WATCHES will always activate the tone/audio at a predetermined volume as required and tested by the NWS. We tested all of our weather radios for compliance last year and passed- so I am confident based on testing and the fact that it is outlined in public documentation as well, that AcuRite radios operate in accordance with the latest NWS compliance requirements.