Research Finds Americans Want Earthquake Warnings Via Public TV
Monday, April 09, 2018 | Comments

New public opinion research finds that the overwhelming majority of Americans want public TV to play a role in providing earthquake early warnings. Commissioned by Eagle Hill Consulting, the research also finds strong public support for government investment in early warning technology.

The research found that 93 percent of Americans want the public broadcasting system to help provide an early warning when an earthquake strikes, and 96 percent of Californians agree. The vast majority of Americans (88 percent) believe the government should invest in an earthquake early warning system, and slightly more Californians agree (94 percent). In addition, 95 percent of Americans said it is important that emergency warnings be accessible to everyone at the same time, including individuals with disabilities and those in rural areas and low-income communities.

America's Public Television Stations (APTS) and Eagle Hill Consulting are working with the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and public TV stations on a multiyear project to develop a robust high-speed data delivery capacity for time-sensitive earthquake early warnings in California’s most populated areas. Already, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Turkey and Romania have operating warning systems that generally are government operated and funded.

“The earthquake early warning system collaboration in California is another example of public broadcasting playing a fundamental role in keeping Americans safe,” said John McCoskey, Eagle Hill’s technology, media and entertainment industry lead executive. “Public broadcasting isn’t just about popular programming; it’s also about saving lives and infrastructure.”

“It’s important to keep in mind that 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.”

Potential benefits of an earthquake early warning system include public warning, first responder mobilization, medical services, utility infrastructure, mass transit systems and workplace safety.

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 TV project encompasses a network of existing high-power over-the-air data-capable television transmitters serving the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Fresno and Sacramento to carry CEEWS alerts with the low latency, broad reach and high availability of the public TV system.

“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,” said Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS). “Emergency management agencies can use public television’s technology to communicate with one another and with 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.”

Ipsos conducted the research in March 2018 as a survey of 1,005 interviews across the U.S. adult population and 503 respondents in California. The results were weighted to reflect U.S. demographic factors, including age, income, the four national census regions, and gender.

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