Encouraging Local EAS Plans: FCC Webinar Available for Local Governmentposted on 6.11.2018
One of the great broadcaster frustrations with the nation’s federally-mandated Emergency Alert System was the initial and continued lack of use by local emergency managers of the expensive alerting equipment that broadcasters were required to purchase, implement and test weekly and monthly. A free FCC webinar is available later this month which broadcasters can use to interest local emergency managers in the capabilities and use of EAS.
Back in 1997, EAS’ first year of operation in the U.S., the National Weather Service was by far the most regular user of EAS and it remains so. In the first few years of EAS operation, broadcasters and emergency managers in nine of the state’s 25 EAS districts created Local EAS Plans that provided the playbook by which emergency managers and broadcasters could work together using EAS to alert the public about natural or man-made disasters. But after that initial wave of enthusiasm, most local governments seemed largely indifferent or uninformed about the alerting equipment’s capabilities to spread potential life-saving information quickly and efficiently.
A notable exception was the development of the original AMBER alert by DFW-area radio managers who worked together with local law enforcement to create the alert after the after abduction and murder of 9-year old Arlington resident Amber Hagerman.
Broadcasters knew the essentially dormant EAS equipment could be used to rapidly spread child abduction information to assist in the recovery of children and arrests of their abductors. Within a month of the local AMBER plan’s activation, a child was successfully recovered. If you have ever wanted to develop and encourage a local EAS plan in your area, or just want to educate local government about utilizing EAS, help is available this month.
The FCC has scheduled a free June 21 webinar for state and local government officials that “will focus on issues relevant to these emergency alerting systems that affect state and local governments, such as how these systems work, who is eligible to initiate alerts, and the targeting of messages to particular geographic areas, as well as the latest developments at the Federal Communications Commission.”
The FCC said the webinar will help ensure state and local governments are ready and able to utilize EAS and WEA alerting systems when they are needed and will give participants an opportunity to ask FCC staff questions. The webinar will be held at 1 pm CDT on June 21 through WebEx.
Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions for joining the event, the password, and the link for the meeting.
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