New FCC Resources on Disaster Response and Public Safety

There are new recommendations out from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that local elected officials should use as resources around improving emergency communications. This set of four reports comes from the Intergovernmental Advisory Committee (IAC), a group of state, local, tribal, and territorial officials appointed by the FCC leadership to develop recommendations on communications policy matters concerning multiple levels of government.

The first report, “In the Matter of Intergovernmental Disaster Response Coordination,” outlines steps governments can take to maximize communications continuity in the event of a disaster. The report recommends opening communication between state and local or tribal governments early, well ahead of any pending disasters, to conduct training and coordination.

The second report, “In the Matter of Multilingual Emergency Alerting,” outlines best practices for reaching all residents with emergency alerts, regardless of language or disability, and best practices for triggering emergency alerts. The report identifies some challenges to various alert forms, populations least likely to be reached by traditional alerts, and recommendations for state, local, and tribal governments to take to ensure that all residents are reached in a timely manner by alerts they can understand.

Two other reports, “In the Matter of State, Local Tribal, and Territorial Regulatory and Other Barriers and Incentives to Telemedicine,” and “In the Matter of the Emergency Alert System – State Participation in State Emergency Communications Committees (SECCS),” make primarily state- and federally-focused policy recommendations for increasing the viability of telemedicine services and improving state emergency alerting coordination.

The IAC will reconvene as a newly-appointed body in 2020, and is currently accepting new applications for membership in a new two-year term. At least four seats on the IAC are reserved for municipal elected officials. As a locally elected official, participating on the IAC is an opportunity to amplify the voice of your community in Washington, D.C.

The new IAC will be tasked with making recommendations to the FCC on broadband deployment and adoption in tribal and rural communities, bridging the urban-rural digital divide, emergency preparedness, smart cities, and consumer matters. For information on application and participation in the IAC, refer to the FCC’s public notice. Applications are due by December 6, 2019.


About the Author: Angelina Panettieri is the Legislative Manager for Information Technology and Communications at the National League of Cities. Follow her on twitter at @AngelinainDC.