Last month, the FCC approved Vermont’s updated EAS plan. The revision was long overdue, the previous plan had been created in 2003. Getting the new plan finished was a time-consuming process, and you might wonder, what’s the secret to getting a statewide EAS plan completed and approved by the FCC? According to Jim Condon, Executive Director of the Vermont Association of Broadcasters, there is no magic, just a lot of hard work, and the willingness to keep going in spite of setbacks.
As he explained, progress came in fits and starts. “The first head of our EAS committee retired. The second got things started again, but soon left to take a position in Alaska, and shortly after the third chair came on board, he had to retire for health reasons. On the fourth try, we were able to get it finished.”
Success, according to Condon, was due in large part to getting talented people on board. Vermont Emergency Management and Homeland Security Operations Chief Jason Gosselin, Joe Tymecki of Vermont Public Radio, and all the volunteers on the State Emergency Communications Committee put in countless hours of hard work on this project.
He adds that reaching out to other state broadcasting associations for advice on best practices is also vital. For the VAB, that included Mike Rice of the Connecticut Broadcasters Association, as well as Suzanne Goucher from the Maine Association of Broadcasters.
The plan was prepared by the Vermont State Emergency Communications Committee (SECC) which is comprised of Vermont Public Radio, Vermont PBS, Vermont Association of Broadcasters, Vermont Emergency Management, the National Weather Service Burlington office, and Sison Broadcasting.
Condon notes that there should be a sense of urgency about completing statewide EAS plans. “Recent events in Texas and Florida demonstrate how quickly these documents can become vital to a rapid response.”