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Florida first responders to tap mobile DTV for hurricane season

Emergency response teams in Florida will get a helping hand from TV broadcasters this hurricane season thanks to a pilot program designed to let responders access important information during the 2013 hurricane season via mobile DTV devices.

The program, put together in partnership with Dyle by NAB and the Florida Association of Broadcasters, put mobile DTV receivers into the hands of Florida’s State Emergency Response Team (SERT) in time for the June 1 beginning of the hurricane season.

“The June 1 kick-off of (the) hurricane season serves as a reminder that Floridians must be prepared for disasters of all types,” said Bryan Koon, director, Florida Division of Emergency Management. “Providing timely information is a key element in our communication strategy, and we’re grateful to Dyle mobile TV, the NAB, the FAB for giving SERT a chance to test mobile TV’s emergency response capabilities.”

A press release on the NAB website announcing the program quotes association president and CEO Gordon Smith regarding the inherent strength of the one-to-many broadcast model in disseminating emergency information versus other alternatives.

“The unfortunate reality is that during an emergency weather situation, local broadcasters are often the only reliable source of information,” said Smith. “It is common for cell phone networks to become over-loaded, resulting in customer delays in receiving valuable, timely information.” Smith added that cable and Internet connections can also be unreliable during such situations.

Salil Dalvi and Erik Moreno, co-general managers of Dyle mobile TV said mobile DTV is “a critical leap forward” when it comes to immediacy, impact and the ability to potentially communicate to millions of people instantly.