The House passed a public warning improvement bill — the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act.
The measure (S. 1180) introduced by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Sen. Claire McCaskill, (D-Mo.), integrates multiple communication systems like EAS and wireless alerts, as well as future technologies. It promotes local and regional public and private partnerships and provides redundant alert mechanisms to reach the largest number of people during an emergency.
The measure establishes a training program to instruct federal, state, tribal and local government officials in system use. Broadcasters support such a training program and view this as a critical component to successful alerting.
It also includes the capability to alert those with disabilities and those who have limited English proficiency.
NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton said NAB “applauds the House’s bipartisan passage of this legislation strengthening the public’s access to important emergency warnings and alerts. As ‘first informers,’ local radio and television stations understand the crucial need for up-to-the-second information when danger is near.”
The bill now goes to the President for his signature.