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Red Cross Urges DTV Transition Preparation

WASHINGTON: The American Red Cross is getting on message for the DTV transition. This coming Friday, around 970 full-power TV stations are expected to cease broadcasting in analog, leaving as many as 2.9 million U.S. households without TV reception. The situation could be potentially dire during disaster conditions. The FCC has already urged folks in hurricane zones to have battery-powered TVs and converter boxes on hand.

“The upcoming transition from analog to digital television signals will have a real effect on the disaster preparedness plans of many people who have relied on small portable televisions with antennas for emergency communications in a disaster, and the American Red Cross urges you to

update your preparedness plans and materials,” the organization stated in a release.

“If you don’t have a television capable of receiving a digital signal or if you rely on an antenna for reception--not pay television, cable, or satellite service--you will need to act now and make the changes necessary to make sure you will be able to access local television stations,” it continued. “This access is especially crucial during a disaster, when many people in the past have used battery operated televisions with an antenna to get disaster news.”

Red Cross official Scott Conner noted that people who have used battery-powered TVs during past emergencies should adapt them immediately. -- Deborah D. McAdams