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Hurricane Ike - disaster prep

Is your station ready for Hurricane Ike?


The FCC encourages all broadcasters to enroll in the FCC's Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS).

DIRS is a voluntary program the FCC uses to assess, on a daily basis, communications outage information during a disaster. 

Because broadcasters play a critical role in keeping citizens in formed during disasters, the FCC is ready to assist broadcasters in their efforts to restore communications in areas affected by a disaster.

It is important for stations to enroll in the program and provide the FCC with daily updates regarding station operations. The FCC uses the information reported through DIRS to track problem areas, to establish priorities, and designate federal resources to help resolve operational issues for broadcasters.

  • To enroll in DIRS, use the following link,
  • Enter LOGIN TO DIRS, then NEW USER PAGE, then enter the identification and contact information, and enter SUBMIT.
  • Once enrolled, you will be notified when DIRS has been activated. The activation notice will indicate which states and counties are affected. If you operate in one of those jurisdictions, simply respond to the DIRS regarding your operational condition via email once a day.

Other FCC Assistance

Staff from the FCC's Media Bureau and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau will make efforts to contact broadcasters in the affected areas to determine their status, respond to requests for assistance, and facilitate Federal and State aid, to the extent possible.

For 24/7 assistance or request for Special Temporary Authority (STA) outside of the FCC's normal operating hours (8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. M-F), stations may reach the FCC's Operations Center at:

During normal operating hours, stations may reach the following Media Bureau or Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau liaisons at the following numbers:

  • Thomas Horan, Chief of Staff, Media Bureau: (202) 418-2486
  • Peter Doyle, Chief, Audio Division, Media Bureau: (202) 418-2789
  • Barbara Kreisman, Chief, Video Division, Media Bureau: (202) 418-1600
  • Jeffery Goldthorp, Division Chief, PSHSB: (202) 418-1096
  • Allan Manuel, Associate Division Chief, PSHSB: (202) 391-5331

Reminder on Closed Captioning

The FCC requires all television stations that provide emergency information to do so in a format that is accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Information that is provided in the audio portion of emergency programming must also be provided visually.

At a minimum, the visual presentation must include critical information about the ongoing emergency, such as specific details regarding the areas that will be affected by the emergency, evacuation orders, detailed descriptions of areas to be evacuated, specific evacuation routes, approved shelters or the way to take shelter in one's home, instructions on how to secure personal property, road closures, and how to obtain relief assistance.

Stations should be especially diligent in ensuring that they provide any emergency information in both audio and video format.  In addition to closed captioning, the FCC confirmed that the use of open captioning, crawls, scrolls, maps, signs and charts may be appropriate.

The FCC has emphasized in past orders that regardless of the method of visual presentation used, stations must provide hearing and hearing disabled individuals with functionally equivalent access to the underlying emergency information. The FCC has directed stations to ensure that any closed captioning does not interfere with other visual devices, and vice versa.

TAB strongly urges Texas TV stations to review continuous coverage plans as soon as possible to make sure they can comply with this FCC rule.

The FCC has shown no hesitancy in imposing tens of thousands of dollars in fines on stations in three TV markets that failed to adequately caption their emergency programming.

National Guard Help

TAB has been in contact with the National Guard regarding the potential threat to Texas of Hurricane Ike.  The Guard is preparing to assist stations that need equipment such as emergency generators, satellite or radio phones, etc.

If you think your station may need assistance of this sort, please contact us at any time until the threat passes.

E-mail TAB with your full contact information (including call sign, address, key personnel names, alternative phone numbers, specific needs, etc.) TAB will compile the information and forward it to the Guard.

If your station previously contacted TAB for Guard assistance during Hurricane Gustav, you WILL need to contact TAB again if you need help this time.

The Guard treats every storm as a separate event. It does not maintain a running list of stations with special needs.

Emergency Alert System

TAB is in contact with the State of Texas Division of Emergency Management (DEM) to determine whether or not state activation of EAS is possible.

TAB will advise stations of any developments in this area.

EAS was considered for the contra-flow evacuations along major highways out of the Houston/Galveston area during Hurricane Rita in 2005, but it was not activated.

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