Research: Americans Want Public Broadcasting to Provide Earthquake Early Warnings

ARLINGTON, VA—With a reach of nearly 97 percent of Americans, public TV stations are uniquely positioned to provide earthquake early warnings, not just via TV, but also in the classroom, online and in the community. New research by Eagle Hill Consulting—an Arlington, VA-based management consulting services company—reveals that 93 percent of Americans—and 96 percent of Californians—want the public broadcasting system (PBS) to provide earthquake early warnings, and feel the government should invest in an earthquake early warning system.

Eagle Hill Consulting has been working closely with America's Public Television Stations (APTS), a non-profit organization—also in Arlington—that advocates for public TV member stations and a financially sound public TV system. And, both organizations are working with the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and PBS on a multi-year project to provide high-speed data delivery of time-sensitive earthquake early warnings to California's most populated areas.

The California Earthquake Early Warning System (CEEWS) is comprised of seismic sensors, data processing centers, and end-user distribution mechanisms to warn individuals, institutions and infrastructure operators of impending shaking once an earthquake is detected. The public television project utilizes a network of high-power, data-capable television transmitters to broadcast CEEWS alerts—with the low-latency, broad reach, and high availability of the public TV system—across the Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Fresno and Sacramento markets.

[Read: When Disaster Strikes, Public Broadcasting Delivers]

According to John McCoskey, Eagle Hill’s technology, media, and entertainment industry lead executive, “More than 143 million Americans across the nation are exposed to potentially damaging ground shaking from earthquakes. Leveraging the vast public broadcasting infrastructure can serve as a highly effective means to deploy life-saving advance alerts for all Americans, including those with disabilities, living in rural areas, and for low income communities.”

According to APTS President and CEO, “Public television stations are proud to partner with local law enforcement and first responder agencies to use the power of public television to ensure all Americans are safe. Emergency management agencies can use public television’s technology to communicate with each other and the public during times of crisis. We are delighted that this new research shows the public’s trust of public television to provide critical earthquake early warnings that can save lives.” 

Claudia Kienzle