Washington - May 23 - The FCC is conducting training on its Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) for various communications services. A conference call for broadcasters to learn how the system works was held on May 23. The system is designed to help the government respond to disasters by providing the necessary materials and supplies for communications needs where they are needed most. The program was established following the lessons learned after Hurricane Katrina. The new system will serve as a focal point for information on the condition of communications infrastructure in affected areas. DIRS will only be activated for catastrophic situations.
John Healy of the FCC led the training. He provided an overview of the system and its function to coordinate the planning for and provision of national security and emergency preparedness communications. One function of the system will be to collect and update information about communications networks (including broadcast stations) in affected areas during and after an emergency.
The FCC asks all broadcasters to register with the site to build the database. The online system is currently in its final beta form, and the final production site should be unveiled in mid-June. For now, the system can be accessed at https://selafoss.fcc.gov/nors/disaster/ (the final slash is needed for the link to function). Once there, stations can create a profile and provide the requested information.
If a disaster is declared and the system is activated, an e-message will be sent go to all the active contacts in the DIRS. That message will contain the URL of the production version of DIRS, and it will include a method to retrieve the password to access the system. Once logged in, stations will be provided with information about the reporting schedule to provide station status updates to the FCC through the DIRS. Stations will be asked to provide updates daily.
Once the final DIRS site is activated, Radio magazine will provide the link.