WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the House of Representatives voted to pass Congresswoman Doris Matsui’s (CA-06) Emergency Reporting Act (H.R. 5918), a bill that will improve the resiliency of communications networks during emergencies.
“Today’s passage of the Emergency Reporting Act is a commitment to the health and safety of all who could be affected by future wildfires and other natural disasters,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “In times of crisis, access to reliable communications networks can be the difference between life and death. This bill promotes resilient communications networks by providing state and local governments with resources to prepare for future disasters. It will also support 911 centers and first responders to protect our communities and save American lives.”
As wildfire season continues across the state of California and beyond, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has an obligation to assist state and local governments in preparing for, responding to, and learning from major disasters. However, the agency’s response to major disasters has been inconsistent. As the number and severity of California wildfires increases, it is critical that the FCC responds adequately and swiftly. By requiring field hearings, reporting, and policy recommendations, the Emergency Reporting Act will help ensure that all disasters, regardless of their location, receive the necessary time and resources from the FCC.
Additionally, the Emergency Reporting Act would improve standards that require mobile carriers to report network outages to 911 centers. While existing outage reporting requirements exist at the FCC, the notification threshold is high and can lead to situations in which 911 centers are left in the dark about service outages in their territory, jeopardizing public safety.
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