Think About It: Local Media ARE Emergency Conduits - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

February 12, 2018

Think About It: Local Media ARE Emergency Conduits

Thousands of bills are brought forth in our annual legislative session, of which about 1% will actually get passed. One of the major areas of concern in 2018 is emergency preparedness and safety… we all know why. Thus I found it interesting upon looking at this 119-page document, the State of Hawaii Emergency Operations Plan, from May of 2017, that there is just one-half of one page in here dedicated to actual communications with the general public, beyond the EAS System- which broadcasters don't control.

There's plenty in this plan addressing how officials will take care of talking to one another in the event of a devastating hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, etc., but when it comes to including the primary conduits to the general public and our visitors- that would be the local broadcast community of over 100 television and radio stations- this lengthy tome spends scant time making sure that these entities have all of the modern tools and plans in place from officials to ensure that we can alert you and your loved ones. Why? Because no one asked us, that's why. This state plan is an attempt to organize and coordinate emergency management activities to save lives, protect people and property, but not much thought was given to ensure that local media were included and queried on how to make sure that we can help to get important information out to everyone.

While broadcasters are federally regulated, we are always happy to work, when contacted, with state and county officials- especially in times of need, or possible need. But if the power is out, if phones don't work or are clogged, if our closed captioners' computers aren't able to provide that vital service? Do we have two-way communication devices in place for official updates? My plea today is to make sure that our legislators reach out to include the broadcast community and other conduits to the public when making laws and proposing emergency system upgrades, for local TV and radio are the first life lines for Hawaii's people in times of need. More than just an EAS alert, we provide succinct data and vital details, when we know. And yes, we do it quicker, accurately and in depth when feasible, and much better than Twitter or Facebook… Think about it…

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