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Food, Power, Shelter All Loom Large When the Lights Go Out

Food, Power, Shelter All Loom Large When the Lights Go Out

Food, back up power and shelter. Those are the three things CBS needed during 9/11 and later, during the New York blackout, said Bob Ross, VP Operations at CBS during a meeting of the Media Security and Reliability Council meeting last week.
This is the second generation of the group, formed by FCC Chairman Michael Powell after 9/11 to help stations plan for ways to stay on the air or get back up and running quickly in the event of further terrorist attacks or natural disasters.
Ross is chair of a working group for MSRC. Ross said that during the Sept. 11 attacks and the blackout in New York, the network had to shelter newspeople who couldn’t get home and force them to eat food before it went bad because the refrigerators in the building were not on back-up power. CBS had emergency fuel for its satellite trucks, but no power to pump the fuel into the vehicles.
Another item stations need to think about to plan for an emergency – a stash of cash with a designated person in charge of it.
“Without power, people can’t take credit cards,” said Ross.
In both cases, the city was without power for days. CBS also found out during the blackout that when it remodeled, some of the newsroom’s lights were not connected to a backup power supply.
MSRC members are discussing how best to transition their emergency plans from checklists into action at the station level.