Last year, the IAFC at the request of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) alerted fire chiefs of a change coming to many communities across the country that may impact our ability to reach residents with important emergency information.
"Repack" is what NAB is calling the process of nearly 1,000 local television stations being required by law to change to new frequencies. When this change occurs, viewers who receive their television signal over the air with an antenna (not via cable or satellite) will have to take a simple, free step to continue watching their local stations.
The interest to public safety is if a fire chief’s community is affected by the frequency changes, residents who do not take the steps to re-scan their televisions may miss important emergency information in a time of crisis.
As an update, legislation was recently passed in Congress strongly supported by our friends at NAB. The Ray Baum Act would allocate additional resources to broadcasters and viewers via the Consumer Education Fund during repack.
The IAFC thanks House Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ) for standing up for public safety by passing the Ray Baum Act.
What should fire chiefs being doing? In the name of community preparedness, the IAFC is encouraging all fire chiefs to take appropriate steps to help make sure residents in their community do not lose access to their local TV station broadcasts and important weather and emergency information. Residents can be directed to TVAnswers.org which has a searchable database with all the television stations and an approximate date of when stations must move frequencies. It also has information on how to rescan a TV set.