FCC set to look at communications earthquake readiness


Recent earthquake disasters in Japan and Haiti have brought disruptions in the earth’s crust into sharp focus, and have prompted the FCC to assess what the results of a big earthquake might be if one were to hit the US. Broadcasters will be represented by Tennessee Association of Broadcasters President Whit Adamson in an early May panel.

The FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau is hosting the event, which will be held at FCC headquarters from 9AM-1PM 5/3/11.

The FCC explained, “Catastrophic natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes are large-scale emergencies that may affect substantial portions of the public and can have a significant impact on critical national infrastructure, including communications networks and services. This Forum will consider the preparations that should be made in advance of an earthquake and how to develop and implement national communications policies and emergency procedures to respond to an earthquake’s potential impact on communications networks and services. This Forum will highlight those practices that best prepare the public and the communications sector for a catastrophic earthquake.”

The first part of the session will deal with preparedness and the recent experience in Japan.

Adamson will be involved in the second part, focusing on the communications response in the event of a major earthquake. According to the FCC, “The ability of the nation to respond to and recover from large scale disasters is dependent on many factors. This panel will discuss how national communications policies and emergency procedures should be developed and/or implemented to respond to the potential impact of a disaster on the national infrastructure. This will include discussion of considerations for the use of Federal assets and the ability of individual sectors within the communications industry to recover from large-scale damage and loss of facilities.”

The panel will include:

* Moderator:

* Dr. William Lane, Chief Engineer & Chief, Operations and Emergency Management Division, PSHSB, FCC


* Richard Reed — Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Senior Director for Continuity Policy

* Whit Adamson — President, Tennessee Association of Broadcasters

* Robert Desiato — Director, Network Disaster Recovery, AT&T

* Prem Ramaswami — Product Manager, Google

* Tim Woods — Manager, Tactical Operations Support, Cisco Systems, Inc.

A representative from the Urban Search and Rescue, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department may also be in attendance.