It's Hurricane Preparedness Week. As the country deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, we must also plan ahead for hurricane season, which begins on June 1, as well as wildfires in some regions.
At the FCC, we work year-round to help first responders and the public communicate during emergencies. In the past year, for example, we took a series of actions to strengthen America’s 911 system and announced that a suite of enhancements to Wireless Emergency Alerts is now available, including the ability for emergency managers to send more geotargeted alerts, longer alert messages, and messages in Spanish.
The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau is now conducting its annual outreach to communications providers to assess their disaster preparedness, particularly in light of the pandemic, and whether there are any actions the FCC can take to help address any gaps. Should a disaster strike, we will closely monitor the status of communications service, keep stakeholders and the public informed, and support any response and recovery efforts. Our 24/7 Operations Center is always available to handle emergency requests.
There are also steps you can take to prepare. I urge you to read our tips on how to communicate during an emergency and take action now if you need to order additional equipment, such as batteries. If you are staying at home, it may be a good time to complete some of these suggested tasks, such as creating an emergency contact list and signing up to receive additional alerts and warnings.
As always, let’s prepare for the worst but also hope for the best.