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FCC Encyclopedia

Emergency Communications

The FCC administers policies pertaining to a variety of public safety emergency communications issues. These include 911 and E911; alerting, operability and interoperability of public safety communications; communications infrastructure protection and disaster response; and network security and reliability. During a major public emergency, the commission’s primary mission is to ensure continuous operations and restore critical communications systems and services.  We also work with federal partners and the communications sector in ensuring continuous operations and reconstitution of critical communications systems and services. 

911 Service is a vital part of the nation's emergency response and disaster preparedness system.

The Emergency Alert System is a national public warning system requiring broadcasters, cable television operators, satellite digital audio radio providers, and direct broadcast satellite operators to provide communications capability for the President to address the nation during a national emergency.

The public needs timely and accurate emergency alerts and warnings about impending disasters and other emergencies. The FCC and its federal partners are working towards a comprehensive alerting system that utilizes multiple communications technologies to reach the public quickly and effectively.

The FCC is working towards the goals of operable and interoperable public safety communications systems for its spectrum users.

The FCC works closely with the communications sector to assess the operational status of essential communications systems and assist in the restoration of critical services.

FCC Bureaus and Offices are authorized to issue a Special Temporary Authority (STA) for those subject-matter areas falling under their respective jurisdiction. An STA is the authority granted to a permittee or licensee to permit the operation of a communications facility for a limited period at a specified variance from the terms of the station or service authorization or requirements of the FCC rules applicable to a particular class of station or service.

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