News

FCC: We're Ready For Emergencies

9/08/2009 11:29 AM Eastern

The Federal Communications Commission is adopting its own early warning system to communicate to the public safety community.

That was one of a number of recomendations/action plans in a new report released Tuesday on the FCC's own preparedness to respond to emergencies that concluded the commission was in good shape, but could could get in better shape, by improving education and training, outreach and collaboration, alerts, and network analysis.

For example, the FCC said Tuesday it was installing an IT-based "rapid-notification" system to help it coordinate with emergency personnel.

And with hurricane season in full swing, the commission will launch a pilot program in which it willl send an emergency outreach coordinator to the Gulf Coast to support state and local emergency managers.

The report was the result of a top-to-bottom review of the FCC emergency response capabilities that was one of new FCC chairman Julius Genachowski's first directives atop the agency.

"The Public Safety Bureau's thorough review concluded that the agency is ready to respond to emergencies, but there is more work to do to maximize the agency's readiness," he said in a statement Tuesday. "The public safety challenges we face are ongoing, dynamic, and growing. Today's report outlines concrete steps the FCC can and will take to better support public safety communications and protect our nation."

On the cyber security front -- a key area of Obama administration concern -- the agency is taking several steps, including charging a working group with assessing the its assets and responsibilities; acquiring new spectrum-analysis equipment to help identify public communications systems that need help during emergencies (so-called Project Roll Call); and establishing an advisory council to help identify possible improvements to the industry emergency alert system.

The report was unveiled at a joint press conference with the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Department of Health and Human Services. September is National Preparedness Month.

 

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