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As Dorian Lingers Offshore, FCC Activates Disaster Reporting for Florida Counties

WASHINGTON—As residents of the southeastern U.S. wonder whether Hurricane Dorian will affect their area, the FCC has activated its Disaster Information Reporting system for 35 counties all along the east and southern coast of Florida.

DIRS is a voluntary, web-based system for communications providers including wireless, wireline, broadcast, cable and VoIP providers to report infrastructure status and situational awareness during emergencies.

The FCC initiated its DIR for Puerto Rico last week when it was anticipated that Hurricane Dorian—now a Category 3 hurricane—would hit the islands. Dorian instead made a beeline for the Bahamas where it remained stationary for the past 24 hours. The storm is now approximately 100 miles west of the Florida coast and is anticipated to make a northward move and skirt the southeastern U.S. this week.

The counties include: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, Desoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Polk, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Union and Volusia.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement on Monday on the commission's efforts to help communications providers weather the storm. 

“As Hurricane Dorian comes closer to the southeast coast, the FCC has been working throughout the weekend to finalize preparations for the storm and coordinate with our federal and state partners," Pai said. "Our staff has reached out to wireless carriers and broadcasters to offer assistance. With our government partners, including FEMA, we have worked to ensure that communications providers and power companies closely coordinate their activities as needed when service restoration efforts get underway—making sure they implement lessons learned from Hurricane Michael. And we have reminded wireless carriers of the need to have roaming agreements in place before the storm hits.

“Additionally, FCC staff have been deployed to conduct ‘pre-landfall’ surveys of the radiofrequency spectrum in projected impact areas, which will help us identify any impacts to public safety communications and broadcaster outages," Pai added. "We have activated our Disaster Information Reporting System to collect and report information on the status of communications services. And as always, our Operations Center is open 24 hours a day to assist first responders and communications providers. To those who could be in the storm’s path, please heed the advice of local officials and stay safe.”

The FCC added that it may add more areas to the DIR list depending on the movement of the storm.

Communications providers can access the DIRS at Reports are requests beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3 and every day after that by 10:00 a.m. 

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.