FCC Remains on Alert Post-Irene

Disaster Information Reporting System remains in effect; 'Roll Call' vans rolled
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Disaster Information Reporting System remains in effect; 'Roll Call' vans rolled

Today begins the cleanup in earnest for many areas after Hurricane Irene rolled up the East Coast over the weekend. At the FCC, post-hurricane work continues. Chairman Julius Genachowski stated the agency will “continue to remain vigilant in our evaluation and response to the situation as it evolves.”

The FCC believes only a few radio stations were without power as of Sunday; it did not identify them. However the number could rise if stations are in areas affected by flooding. The agency expects more status reports later today.

The commission says it’s received no requests from broadcasters seeking STAs because of the storm.

The FCC activated its Disaster Information Reporting System in order to monitor damage to broadcast and telecommunications facilities during the hurricane; the DIRS remains in effect as of late morning Monday. The chairman Sunday said reports indicated no 911 center was without service and that overall, radio and TV were largely unaffected by outages.

For the first time, the commission worked with FEMA to deploy four vehicles equipped with spectrum analyzing equipment to the disaster areas to examine the radio spectrum and identify communications outages, including cellphone tower and broadcast tower outages. The so-called Project Roll Call is a joint effort by the FCC and Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency.