47 CFR § 73.1250 - Broadcasting emergency information.

§ 73.1250 Broadcasting emergency information.
Link to an amendment published at 89 FR 7255, Feb. 1, 2024.

(a) Emergency situations in which the broadcasting of information is considered as furthering the safety of life and property include, but are not limited to the following: Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, tidal waves, earthquakes, icing conditions, heavy snows, widespread fires, discharge of toxic gasses, widspread power failures, industrial explosions, civil disorders and school closing and changes in school bus schedules resulting from such conditions. See also § 73.3542, Application for Emergency Authorization, for requirements involving emergency situations not covered by this section for which prior operating authority must be requested.

(b) If requested by responsible public officials, a station may, at its discretion, and without further FCC authority, transmit emergency point-to-point messages for the purpose of requesting or dispatching aid and assisting in rescue operations.

(c) If the Emergency Alert System (EAS) is activated for a national emergency while a Local Area or State emergency operation is in progress, the national level EAS operation must take precedence. If, during the broadcasting of Local Area or State emergency information, the EAS codes or Attention Signal described in § 11.12 of this chapter are used, the broadcasts are considered as being carried out under a Local Area or State EAS plan.

(d) Any emergency operation undertaken in accordance with this section may be terminated by the FCC if required in the public interest.

(e) Immediately upon cessation of an emergency during which broadcast facilities were used for the transmission of point-to-point messages under paragraph (b) of this section, or when daytime facilities were used during nighttime hours by an AM station in accordance with paragraph (f) of this section, a report in letter form shall be forwarded to the FCC in Washington, DC, setting forth the nature of the emergency, the dates and hours of the broadcasting of emergency information, and a brief description of the material carried during the emergency. A certification of compliance with the noncommercialization provision of paragraph (f) of this section must accompany the report where daytime facilities are used during nighttime hours by an AM station, together with a detailed showing, under the provisisons of that paragraph, that no other broadcast service existed or was adequate.

(f) AM stations may, without further FCC authority, use their full daytime facilities during nighttime hours to broadcast emergency information (examples listed in paragraph (a) of this section), when necessary to the safety of life and property, in dangerous conditions of a general nature and when adequate advance warning cannot be given with the facilities authorized. Because of skywave interference impact on other stations assigned to the same channel, such operation may be undertaken only if regular, unlimited-time service, is non-existent, inadequate from the standpoint of coverage, or not serving the public need. All operation under this paragraph must be conducted on a noncommercial basis. Recorded music may be used to the extent necessary to provide program continuity.

(g) Broadcasting of emergency information shall be confined to the hours, frequencies, powers and modes of operation specified in the station license, except as otherwise provided for AM stations in paragraph (f) of this section.

(h) Any emergency information transmitted by a TV or Class A TV station in accordance with this section shall be transmitted both aurally and visually or only visually. TV and Class A TV stations may use any method of visual presentation which results in a legible message conveying the essential emergency information. Methods which may be used include, but are not necessarily limited to, slides, electronic captioning, manual methods (e.g., hand printing) or mechanical printing processes. However, when an emergency operation is being conducted under a national, State or Local Area Emergency Alert System (EAS) plan, emergency information shall be transmitted both aurally and visually unless only the EAS codes are transmitted as specified in § 11.51(b) of this chapter.

[43 FR 45847, Oct. 4, 1978, as amended at 50 FR 30947, July 31, 1985; 59 FR 67102, Dec. 28, 1994; 60 FR 56000, Nov. 6, 1995; 65 FR 30003, May 10, 2000]