WHAV Added Among ‘First Responders’ in Legislation Passed by Congress

Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said “this legislation comes not a moment too soon.”

WHAV FM and other broadcasters would become “first responders” during natural disasters if President Donald Trump signs a bill passed by both houses of Congress following the devastation caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The ‘‘Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act of 2017’—known as SANDy for short—passed the Senate this week after being approved by the House of Representatives last January. Under the act, which would be recognized by local law enforcement, broadcasters will receive priority status when it comes to restoring transmitter sites and refueling generators.

“In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, I was pleased to see the United States Senate’s unanimous passage of the SANDY Act of 2017 last night,” Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said Tuesday. “We know that weather-related emergencies and other disasters can occur anywhere at any time–and this legislation comes not a moment too soon. Among other things, it promises to help speed restoration of essential communications in times of disaster,” she added.

More than 50 full-power radio stations and translators across Florida and Georgia were still off the air Tuesday following Hurricane Irma.

The legislation names broadcasters as “essential service providers” during federally declared emergencies.

National Association of Broadcasters Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton applauded passage of the legislation and urged Trump to sign it.

“As Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have demonstrated, hometown radio and TV stations play a lifesaving role as ‘first informers’ during times of emergencies, and this legislation will provide local broadcasters with access to vital resources to stay on the air when disaster strikes.”

WHAV participates in the Emergency Alert System, which the FCC describes as “a national public warning system that requires broadcasters…to provide the communications capability to the president to address the American public during a national emergency. The system also may be used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as AMBER alerts and weather information targeted to specific areas.”

2 thoughts on “WHAV Added Among ‘First Responders’ in Legislation Passed by Congress

  1. WHAV offers outstanding news and service to our community. Thank you WHAV for all that you do for us. It is great to once again having a news media bringing us news of local happenings