New opinion research finds the overwhelming majority of Americans see public television as an effective channel for educating children and underserved populations about responding to emergency situations like tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes or terrorist attacks.
Commissioned America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) and Eagle Hill Consulting, the research finds that:
- 91% of Americans believe that public television could be an effective channel to educate children about responding to emergencies
- 87% say public television could be an effective channel to educate underserved populations (including low income communities, individuals with disabilities, and rural communities) about responding to emergencies
- 80% of Americans are aware that government agencies use public television to distribute alerts during emergencies
“Public broadcasting increasingly plays a fundamental role in keeping America safe,” says Eagle Hill’s John McCoskey.
“Public broadcasting isn’t just about popular programming. Emergency agencies and law enforcement rely on the public television system to communicate with Americans during emergencies.”
“This new research tells us that Americans are aware that the public television system is an information source in crisis situations, which can be vital if other communication networks are taken down in a natural disaster or terror attack,” McCoskey explained.
“Moreover, Americans see a growing safety role for the public television system – to educate children and underserved communities about responding to emergencies.”
America’s public television stations are committed to three essential public service missions: education, public safety and civic leadership.
As the last locally-controlled media in America, public television reaches nearly 97% of Americans.
Public television stations are uniquely positioned to provide these services, not only on television but also in the classroom, online, as part of the emergency response network and in the community.
“Public television stations are proud to partner with local law enforcement and first responder agencies to use the power of public television to ensure all Americans are safe,” said Lonna Thompson, APTS executive vice president and chief operating officer.
“Emergency management agencies can use public television’s technology to communicate with one another and with the public during times of crisis. We are delighted that this new research shows the public’s trust and value of public television’s essential services, which they depend on every day.”
Public media has cultivated considerable expertise in public safety, emergency communications and spectrum management over the past decade, gaining a reputation as a trusted and reliable resource with federal agencies, commercial entities and the public.
Public television and radio stations have created effective partnerships with state and local law enforcement and federal agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to communicate with the public in crises situations.
In addition, public television stations have committed 1 Mbps of their spectrum data stream to support the new federal FirstNet public safety network built for first responders to improve communications coverage, reliability and redundancy, as well as to better serve rural and underserved communities.
(Lives depend on first responders’ ability to communicate in disaster and emergency. That is why FirstNet was created – to develop a wireless, mobile network to modernize public safety communications and keep first responders connected when it counts the most. Courtesy of First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and YouTube)
The public television station system will complement FirstNet by providing high-speed data broadcast services used for distribution of video, images, and blueprints in emergency situations.
Both Vegas PBS and Houston Public Media are true pioneers in public safety.
They have taken the decade-long promise of public safety datacasting and put it to work in their local communities. Vegas PBS has expanded and built partnerships with a wide variety of government entities to respond in emergency situations.
Houston Public Media has created a powerful network of public safety and first responder organizations, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, that meets both high-profile security challenges like the recent Super Bowl and the everyday requirements of keeping millions of citizens of Houston safe.
The results were weighted to reflect U.S. demographic factors, including age, income, the four national census regions, and gender.