Washington - Sep 19, 2012 - NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith sent a letter to Representatives John Mica, Peter King, Nick Rahall and Bennie Thompson expressing the NAB's support of H.R. 2903, the Federal Emergency Management Agency Reauthorization Act of 2011. The bill would strengthen FEMA's relationship with free and local radio and TV broadcasters during times of emergency.
The text of the letter follows.
Dear Chairmen Mica and King and Ranking Members Rahall and Thompson:
I write in support of H.R. 2903, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Reauthorization Act of 2011. This bill, which will modernize the nation's public alert and warning system to ensure that the president can effectively alert and warn citizens under all conditions during times of disaster, is strongly supported by America's broadcasters.
Local radio and TV stations serve communities during emergencies by providing life-saving information, important news and weather reports. The stations we represent have proudly worked with local and federal governments for more than six decades, airing alerts issued by the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Working hand in hand with law enforcement, broadcasters have helped to successfully recover more than 580 abducted children to date through the use of AMBER Alerts.
The FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2011 is an important step towards expanding the nation's public warning system by integrating multiple communications systems and future technologies. This legislation promotes local and regional public and private partnerships, and provides redundant alert mechanisms to reach the largest number of people during an emergency.
Additionally, this legislation establishes a training program to instruct federal, state, tribal and local government officials in system use. Broadcasters are very supportive of such a training program and view this as a critical component to successful alerting. Strengthening coordination among the different levels of government, the legislation will set up an Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Advisory Committee composed of federal, state and local representatives as well as members from various industry groups. The National Association of Broadcasters and our members look forward to participating in this Advisory Committee and continuing our partnership with federal government.
Thank you for your consideration of this important legislation. America's broadcasters take their role as first informers in times of emergency very seriously. We look forward to working with you to strengthen our nation's warning system to help keep all Americans safe.
Gordon H. Smith