New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced the launch of a new emergency public communications system that will allow for the instantaneous broadcast of critical information to citizens from anywhere in the city through the news media.
Four radio stations, WABC-AM, WFAN-AM, WINS-AM and WCBS-AM, have agreed to participate in the new Emergency Alert System, which will allow an emergency message known as Local Primary Ones (LP1s) to be transmitted to the stations.
All other analog radio and TV stations and cable TV systems are required by federal law to electronically monitor two LP1s in the city. New York City plan expands that to four as an extra precaution. Once a message airs on one of the primary stations, the monitoring stations will receive the message and can choose to rebroadcast it. The mayor can activate the system from a special device that he will carry in his car or by phone.
The city will also install special EAS equipment at the 911 call center and the 311 citizen service center to ensure that the city’s front-line call takers have the latest information in the event of an emergency.
Also, $1 million will be spent on six studios in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx where city officials can conduct news conferences and have the feed transmitted live to the media through fiber-optic lines.
During the Sept. 11 attacks, former Mayor Giuliani had to use a cellphone and a NY1 camera crew that he ran into to communicate about the incident. The messages were not transmitted on other TV and radio stations for at least an hour, according to the Bloomberg News channel.