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MSRC Outlines Disaster Recovery Plans

The devil is in the details. That's what came out of the second meeting of the Media Security and Reliability Council (MSRC II) this week. The group, headed up by FCC Chairman Powell, reported on disaster recovery plans created for cable, broadcast satellite systems and local television and radio stations.

How the plans will be put into practice is yet to be decided.

While broadcasters may have a plan to keep the transmitters on, they might not plan for three basic needs--food, petroleum and hotels, according to Bob Ross, Chair of the Toolkit Working Group and VP, engineering and operations at CBS.

Ross said that during the Sept. 11 attacks and the blackout in New York, the city lacked things like refrigeration backup and fuel for ENG vehicles that were camped out by ground zero for days.

For emergencies, "preplanning is not costly, it's just common sense," Ross said. Examples from the MSRC working group's television checklist included testing the backup power while the facility is disconnected from the power grid. Ross cited an example at CBS where the power was down and all critical loads were handled on backup power, except for one critical aspect, the building's air conditioning.

MSRC Chairman and President/CEO, Hearst-Argyle David Barret said that broadcasters have the most knowledge and infrastructure to provide information to the public.

"We all have a responsibility to address [public safety]," he said.