FEMA and iHeart’s WBZ NewsRadio Boston have officially unveiled the new Emergency Broadcast Studio which has been modernized to improve critical alert and warning capabilities when disasters threaten public safety.
The WBZ facility serves as a Primary Entry Point station for FEMA’s National Public Warning System, maintained under FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, and provides critical information to the public before, during and after incidents and disasters.
Under the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act enacted in 2015, Congress required FEMA to upgrade PEP stations across the country to ensure continuity of terrestrial broadcast services under all hazards. PEP stations are specially designated NPWS broadcast stations that serve as the primary intake source of initial broadcasts for a national alert. FEMA equips these stations, which are operated by local station personnel, with backup communications equipment and power generators that enable them to continue broadcasting information to the public during and after an emergency, including conveying official alerts to communities regionally and nationwide. These free-standing emergency studios, located at the radio transmitter sites, are specially designed and hardened to withstand various natural disasters and acts of terrorism. This helps ensure that the President can alert and warn the public under all conditions. Currently, there are 77 PEP stations that ensure capable of reaching 90 percent of the U.S. population.
WBZ is the 13th PEP station to complete the all-hazards upgrade. The modernization to the emergency studio includes increased sheltering capabilities, expanded broadcast capacity, and sustainable power generation for all types of hazardous events, increasing WBZ’s resiliency to continue broadcasting during emergencies.