FCC Seeks Comment on Hurricane Response

On December 7, the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau issued a Public Notice inviting comment on the government and communications industry’s preparation and response to the 2017 hurricane season.

“The Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeks comment on the resiliency of the communications infrastructure, the effectiveness of emergency communications, and government and industry responses to the 2017 hurricane season. Of particular note, the 2017 season included four hurricanes which made landfall in the United States and its territories.[1]  Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate led to Presidential emergency or major disaster declarations for seven states and two territories.[2]  These storms devastated communities and the communications networks that service them.  As emphasized by Chairman Pai, “Access to reliable communications services during times of emergency is critical to enabling Americans in danger to request help and our heroic first responders to do their jobs.”[3]  The purpose of this Public Notice is to seek information to better understand how well such access was provided during these hurricanes in order to assess what lessons may be learned for the future.”

In addition, Bureau Chief Lisa Fowlkes issued a blog on our ongoing hurricane response and recovery efforts:  https://www.fcc.gov/news-events/blog/2017/12/07/hurricane-seasons-over-our-work-continues

[1] These hurricanes were Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate. See, e.g., Jonathan Erdman, 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Among Top 10 Most Active in History (Oct. 2, 2017), https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2017-atlantic-hurricane-season-one-of-busiest-september#/!.

[2] The states and territories for which emergency or disaster declarations were made were Texas, Florida, Louisiana Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. See, e.g., FEMA, Disasters, https://www.fema.gov/disasters/.

[3] See Chairman Ajit Pai, September 2017 Open FCC Meeting, Presentation on FCC Response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, Statement (Sept. 26, 2017), https://www.fcc.gov/document/presentation-fcc-response-hurricanes-harvey-irma-and-maria/pai-statement-0.