Auburn, Washington, controls its ALERT AM station from a
Customs & Border Protection, Texas & California, deploys the
first national network of information radio stations.
Lexington-Fayette Urban County, Kentucky's,
Los Alamos, New Mexico, residents and workers flee flames
near National Laboratory in remote area; dual AM 1610
stations broadcast special directions.
- Lyndhurst, New
Jersey's, emergency advisories.
Manasquan Borough, New Jersey's, writes the FCC.
City, Texas, streams broadcasts on the internet.
California, uses radio for wildfire updates.
County, New Jersey, letter to FCC explaining why
information radio was needed during Hurricane Sandy.
Mount Rainier National Park becomes the first
national park to add networked information stations.
Naperville, Illinois, emergency advisories.
North Tahoe, California, letter to FCC explaining why
(with examples) its information radio station is needed
for emergency management.
- North Plainfield Borough, New
Jersey, officials speak directly to motorists during H1N1
and other crises.
- North Wildwood, New Jersey, Streams
- Santa Barbara, California, two
significant wildfires in three weeks. Information Radio
proves invaluable in protecting and informing residents.
- Vail, Colorado, utilizes twin information
stations, controlling broadcasts from a computer
National Lab Threatened by
Flames; Evacuees Updated Real-Time by Information Radio
ALAMOS, NM: Residents
and workers fleeing the flames near Los Alamos National
Laboratory listened to AM 1610 to receive special directions
and fire updates. With only two roads leading in and out of
the area, motorists have few evacuation options. The special
radio service was initiated in 2007 by Los Alamos County’s
Office of Emergency Management, with the knowledge that some
day it would be called on to protect lives and property.
Says Emergency Manager Phil Taylor, "Our community’s
experience with the Cerro Grande fire of 2000 and the recent
Las Conchas fire prompts frequent calls to 911 asking if
they need to evacuate for even the slightest hint of smoke
in the air."
Dual Information Radio Stations in Los Alamos and White Rock
not only provide motorists details about wildfires but also
traffic accidents causing road blockages, road construction
and emergency drills at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Two transmitting facilities cover the population in the
area, each covering 25-75 square miles.
"Shortly after the OEM was activated, I put out an
announcement containing situation analyses and for folks
with respiratory sensitivities to consider voluntary
evacuation. The second day, I used 1610 a LOT along with our
reverse 911 to do the actual evacuation of the town site. I
had to do it in four stages, and later on, a final 'you MUST
get out NOW..." message. ...I must've changed messages at
least three times each day, with just station ID and
situational awareness messages running on the active
playlist (no weather). I'm now broadcasting at least one
fire-related message, road closure info and weather loop.
"About the only improvement I can think of right now [that
we could make] would be ... to stream 1610, since most folks
have computers, and even if they're evacuated out of the
coverage range, they could still listen."
Background about Los Alamos' Setup
Dual Information Radio stations were set up by EOC personnel
in 2007. Taylor describes the rationale thusly, "Our
fundamental emergency public information requirements
probably don’t differ substantially from those of any other
jurisdictions. Primarily, we’re interested in a methodology
that will allow us to expeditiously communicate emergent
information to as many people as possible within our
jurisdictional boundaries. We have the following
* Small, isolated, mountain community – two roads leading
in/out – deep canyons and high mesas.
* Limited commercial radio/TV coverage.
* Large daytime transient population/commuters who work at a
"Possible emergency scenarios include . . .
* Severe weather events with corresponding school/Laboratory
* Traffic accidents that interrupt normal commutes.
* Evacuation/shelter-in-place instructions.
* Any emergency public warning/information that needs to be
disseminated RIGHT NOW.
"We used these creative methods to make citizens aware of
* Press release (he got the local press to do an article
right after the station went 'live').
* Bill-stuffer in utility bills.
* Laboratory incorporation of the press release in their
* Mention of the station by EOC personnel at every speaking
* The schools send info home with the kids.
* Refrigerator magnets, pens and pencils to hand out at
* Descriptive blurb with EOC email signatures."
Office of Emergency Management
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Police Department Employs Twin Information Stations
Town of Vail'S broadcasts are controlled from a computer
The stations are strategically positioned to cover local
streets and the I-70 corridor, as it travels through the
well-known resort community.
The programming is managed by computer and is distributed to
the stations across the city’s fiber optic system.
Vail Public Safety Communications Center Interim Director
Jennifer Kirkland praises the Information Station: “The
system is extremely beneficial to our guests and citizens,
as it provides up-to-date, recorded information that is
useful and valuable."
Courtesy of Jennifer Kirkland
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Plainfield - Emergency & Health Officials Speak to Motorists
in a 25-75 Square-Mile Area
PLAINFIELD, NJ: North
Plainfield Borough in Somerset County has an information
radio station that Borough emergency and health officials
use to speak directly to motorists in a 25-75 square mile
coverage area. Signs tell motorists what radio channel to
tune to. Says borough clerk Rich Phoenix ...
"During the wave of H1N1 inoculation and immunization
programs, President Obama declared that TIS stations could
be utilized to help inform the public as to when and where
H1N1 clinics would operate in local communities. We carried
the announcements, here, in North Plainfield, and the TIS
station was highly effective in drawing a good response of
residents wishing to be immunized. We were very fortunate to
have a highly responsive Somerset County and State of New
Jersey effort to support our clinics and, once again, via
the President, we were authorized to broadcast the advisory.
"In the history of our TIS, we have also broadcast
advisories of upcoming street fairs, parades, processions
and fireworks displays. As disparate as they may seem in
relation to typical TIS information, each clearly qualifies
as viable traffic information, since key Borough streets are
shut down for each event – even the fireworks. We are a
tight-knit compact community, and 4th of July fireworks are
displayed very near some of our thoroughfares, which must be
barricaded for the duration.
"...We are very fortunate on 1630 kHz. regarding our
nighttime coverage, as there is no commercial station giving
us co-channel skywave or adjacent channel splatter....
Although the Commission has not seen fit to provide the TIS
service much protection, the proof is clear that TIS
provides a valuable, sometimes lifesaving service to
residents and motorists and – at the very least – deserves
Rich Phoenix, RMC
Borough Clerk & Chief Operator of WPQJ970 1630 AM Radio
New Jersey Radio Museum President
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Customs & Border Protection Deploys First National
Information Radio Network
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can motorists entering
the USA exactly what they need to know, for example:
* Is the crossing open?
* How long is the wait?
* Which lane should I be in?
* What documents do I need?
Because the CBP is installing a special information radio
station, referred to as a Travelers Information
Station/Highway Advisory Radio (TIS/HAR) system, at key land
border ports of entry, providing information to approaching
motorists with the intention of expediting their passage
across the border.
The federally licensed 10-watt AM radio stations are
currently installed in El Paso, Laredo, TX; San Luis, AZ;
and Calexico (East), CA. Additional sites are planned on the
southwest border and locations on the US/Canadian border are
also being considered.
The stations provide the capability of broadcasting
time-sensitive messages developed at the local ports of
entry, in addition to messages developed at the national
level by CBP Headquarters.
Project manager Daniel Piscopo states that the broadcast
messages will include “how to use high-tech travel cards,
information about CBP's Trusted Traveler Programs, basic
border crossing rules and regulations, emergency travel
updates, and border wait times.”
Results of a pilot survey conducted by CBP at El Paso,
Texas, indicate that there is considerable awareness and
favorability regarding use of the radio stations, and
agreement that they would be especially valuable as a tool
to gauge wait times.
CBP will be able to communicate directly to travelers about
how to expedite their border crossing, for example, by
broadcasting information about CBP programs such as the
Ready Lane — an expedited travel lane for people with radio
frequency identification technology enabled cards -- and
Trusted Traveler lanes for pre-approved, low-risk travelers.
Radio broadcasts can be heard for several miles around the
port, giving CBP the ability to provide necessary
information to travelers as they approach the border.
Perhaps someday it will be common practice for motorists to
reach for their radios as they reach the US.
CBP press release,
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the Mountain; Mount Rainier First National Park to Add
Networked Information Stations
WA: ASHFORD, WA: It’s not news when a National Park boasts
multiple Information Radio Stations (TIS) that deliver
special messages to visitors in multiple locations. It is
news, however, when the broadcast messages on the radio
stations are seamlessly managed across a network.
Mount Rainer National Park, located in western Washington
State, is in the process of installing
such a system, intended to inform and advise visitors at
five locations – including the Park’s three main entrances.
See other examples of interpretive use at
The system will leverage the network backbone already in
place among various Park facilities. NPS will utilize “Uploader”
software just released by Information Station Specialists to
manage audio-file distribution from a library at Park
Headquarters to the radio stations. "Uploader" allows a
program-loop of multiple files to be sent to each of the
five stations in one action, saving staff considerable time.
Costs are lower, and audio quality is increased due to the
elimination of telephone lines used to manage existing Park
One of the Park's Main Entrances
Three of the five networked locations (Ashford, Nisqually
and Paradise) currently have Information Radio Stations. Two
new networked stations will be brought online at Ohanapecosh
and White River.
Mount Rainier National Park was an early adopter of
Information Station technology in the 1980s.
National Parks that have used Information Station technology
and how they have used it.
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Beach, New Jersey's, Emergency Advisory Radio Station
COUNTY, NJ: Dec. 2012, for a letter to FCC Chairman
Genachowski for AAIRO's Petition to update FCC Rules.
"My name is Drew Winans. [I am] the present Chief of Police
of the Monmouth Beach Police Department. In reference to our
information radio station purchased 10 years ago or more? I
have been involved with the radio station since its
installation when it was installed by them Chief Patrick
McConville. ... Here’s a brief synopsis of how the radio
station was 'an Invaluable' tool not only for the residents
of Monmouth Beach but nearby towns within listing distance.
"In the days leading up to 'Sandy,' the Monmouth Beach
Office of Emergency Management had many vehicles to inform
the residents of Monmouth Beach, [e.g.,} the 'Code Red'
system that sent recorded messages to all subscribers via
phone, text and email. These messages were updated as
needed. Each time these messages were sent out, the same
message was recorded and being transmitted on our radio
station (WPMG676 1640am). I knew that not many people were
listening. Why would they? Email….. Text…. House Phone….
Cell Phone…. Smart phone…. The night Sandy arrived in full
force the storm surge started surrounding our headquarters
and separate annex building that houses the controls of our
radio station we had to abandon our HQ and head for higher
ground which was Borough Hall. I was continually updating
information on the radio station remotely using my cell
phone, until the phone lines went down and I wasn’t able to
access the radio station to update information. In the early
morning hours the next day and the days following when code
red messages were being sent out, many of the subscribers
were not getting the messages. Cell phone service was out,
people's phones were dead since they had no power to charge
them or some carriers just weren’t working properly. But!!!
We were able to continually update information on the radio
station with the same information being sent out with our
code red system. But I wondered are the people listening?
During these days and weeks following the storm I came in
contact with numerous people who thanked us for keeping them
informed through the radio station. The older technology
that most were not custom to, was the one thing that held
true. In talking to people they felt so disconnected from
what was going on. But having the radio station they had
some idea what was going on and receiving important recovery
information. Sea Bright is a town just north of us and
shares our border. Severely devastated by Sandy. I had the
opportunity to speak to residents of that town who live on
the border and were continually tuned into our information
broadcasts. They couldn’t thank us enough with the
information being transmitted. Bottom line………. Old School
won out when it was needed most."
Monmouth Beach Borough, New Jersey
Monmouth County Emergency Management Radio System webpage.
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Borough, New Jersey's, Emergency Advisory Radio Station
NJ: Nov. 2012, as documented in a letter to FCC Chairman
Genachowski for Petition Docket 09-19.
"I want to express to you in the strongest way how vital the
Information Radio Station (TIS) is to our community.
"Manasquan is a coastal community just north of where
Hurricane Sandy made landfall, meaning that we took maximum
storm surge and wind damage from the event. We knew that
telephones, internet and even commercial radio stations
might not operate throughout the storm so we informed local
resident that the Radio Station we operate on AM 1620 would
be the single disseminator of information during and in the
"As predicted, we lost all services, including, of course,
electrical power. yet the radio station continued to operate
and information continuously throughout.
"Due to our large battery back[up], the station had
continuous power and never went off the air.
Battery-operated radios could receive it, despite the loss
of electrical power in homes. The antenna is installed on a
hurricane-wind rated "Vertical Profile" antenna support
which handled the 90 mph winds and 3 feet of flooding
"There is no telling how many lives and how much property
was saved due to this resource which our town thankfully
has. Therefore, I must encourage you, to make sure that when
new rules for the TIS service are finalized they make
accommodation for the critical importance that the TIS
service has taken on for communities like ours in disasters
such as this.
"Please re-craft the content rules to specifically state
that weather forecasts, warnings, NOAA rebroadcasts and
emergency preparedness information can be broadcast at any
time - before, during and after a disaster - as a means of
mitigating loss of life and damage to property. As your
agency debates the future of the AM radio band, please
consider how important those humble 10 watt Information
Radio Stations have become to communities like ours...and
how the small investment we made some years ago, has saved
us time, money, and property and lives by a factor unknown,
and will again when the next disaster occurs."
David W. Kircher, Coordinator
Office of Emergency Management
Christopher B. Tucker, Deputy Coordinat
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Tahoe, California's, Emergency Advisory Radio Station
TAHOE, CA: Jan 2013, as documented in a letter to FCC
Chairman Julius Genachowski for Petition Docket 09-19.
"The North Tahoe Fire Protection District services 31 square
miles on the northwest shore of Lake Tahoe, California; an
area subject to forest fires, floods, avalanches, snow
events, and back-country emergencies. Serving mountain
communities in the Sierra Nevada 's provides additional
egress challenges associated with small mountain roads and
population that double during peak tourist seasons.
"In the summer of 2007, we experienced two large fires that
presented life safety challenges to our responders. The most
immediate danger was that of a local, fast spreading,
wind-whipped wild-land interface fire burning through a
residential neighborhood. Secondarily, evacuees gridlocked
several communities as they attempted to escape the fire
through a single means of egress, both impeding emergency
vehicles and endangering citizens lives. The "After Action"
report identified a need to disseminate real time,
information to both our local citizens and visiting public.
"In response, the District acquired three portable AM
transmitters, hired a Public Information Officer, and formed
a Citizen's Emergency Information Team to deploy the
transmitters in urgent and emergent circumstance.
"As an example, last year all 'Red Flag' fire watch days
were announced through these emergency broadcasts and a new
public awareness of fire weather was established. Later in
the year, our portable AM broadcast transmitters were
utilized to prepare the public for the dangers of an
approaching early season winter storm, that brought heavy
precipitation, compromised structures, caused avalanches and
"The Public Information Officer has continued to educate our
citizens of the importance of committing our AM frequency to
their memory. The District has proved these portable AM
transmitters as a reliable and now essential tool for
communicating with our communities. The District believes
that any limitation on our ability to utilize these
transmitters will jeopardize public safety within our
communities. Please consider the dangers to public safety as
you review Docket 09-19.
"Michael Schwartz, Fire Chief"
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Information Stations for California Wildfire Evacuations
BARBARA, CA, Nov 2012: Two significant wildfires in three
weeks near Santa Barbara, California, have tested the area’s
Information Radio Stations’ ability to direct the public
quickly out of harm’s way.
On October 17th, a vegetation fire caused by downed power
lines required the evacuation of Painted Cave, CA – a
community that lost more than 400 homes and public buildings
in a devastating fire in 1990. The nearby San Marcos Pass
Information Station on AM 1040, operated by Mike Williams,
broadcast critical fire and evacuation information
continuously for residents as they lined up on Highway 154
to exit. In the end, all lives and structures were saved and
the fire was contained to 44 acres.
Three weeks later, a similar fire in Montecito,
California's, backcountry triggered emergency evacuation
information to be broadcast on Montecito Fire Protection
District’s Information Station on AM 1610. The San Marcos
Pass station carried the evacuation information, as well.
Fortunately, this fire was contained by late afternoon and
residents returned to intact homes.
States Williams, “The use of low power radio in emergency
situations proves invaluable. The ability to provide quick
information to the public is essential during fast moving
events such as wildfires.”
See a San Marcos pass Emergency Radio System overview.
Listen to the “Community Alert” talk show for an overview &
history of info radio stations.
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Success: Information Radio Stations Increasingly Simulcast
NORTH WILDWOOD, NJ, 2012: North
Wildwood, New Jersey, have recently made their Information
Station programming available on the Web. And Fort Bend
County, Texas, will soon bring online an internet stream of
their 1670 signal.
At the oceanfront community of North Wildwood, New Jersey,
Police Chief Robert Matteucci comments, “Streaming allows
people who live out of reach of the radio station to
listen…at home or on handheld options. We feel that during a
storm, people in fringe areas will have a clearer message
over the computer than over the air. Additionally,
[out-of-town] family members can check local conditions.”
Robert Bracken, the Information Station operator at Missouri
City, also makes their 1690 AM signal accessible during
emergencies on the municipal cable TV outlet.
Bracken states, “We are heavily promoting it through news
releases, our TV channel and our homeowner association
See how these 3 communities present the streaming
opportunity on their websites:
Missouri City, TX.
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|Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government
LEXINGTON, KY, March 2011:
Lexington/Fayette County Urban County Government provides
services to a population of approximately 300,000 persons
(not including transient student and medical patient
populations) over an area of 286 square miles. There are
more than 1,100 lane miles of highways in the county,
including portions of Interstate 75 and Interstate 64, US
highways 25, 27, 60, 68, 421 and state highway 4 (New Circle
Road) which runs a loop around the county approximately 6
miles from the center of the downtown area. Additionally,
Man O’ War Boulevard extends a half-loop through the
southern edge of the county.
Lexington/Fayette County is home to three major colleges and
universities, several large regional shopping centers, six
hospital complexes, including two Veterans Administration
facilities and local, federal and state prisons. Lexington
is also home to two horse racing facilities, a regional
airport and dozens of small, medium and large manufacturing
and professional service businesses.
It is important to note that I-75 and I-64 merge in Fayette
County. These interstate highways provide a major
north-south and east-west passenger car and semi-trailer
truck route through the United States. On an average day,
more than 90,000 vehicles travel these interstate highways.
It is also of importance that while not necessarily in
Fayette County, several military installations of importance
exist within 10 miles of the county border. The most
significant installation is the Bluegrass Army Depot, the
location of the largest stockpile of chemical weapons still
remaining in the United States. Lexington/Fayette County is
a designated host community which means that it will serve
as a medical service provider and evacuation site should
there be an accident at the depot involving the chemical
weapons. Other facilities provide logistics, repair,
re-supply and transportation responsibilities. All
facilities provide support for worldwide peacekeeping,
intelligence and training missions.
The current TIS system is used to provide life safety
information to the public in case of emergency and other
information within the current administrative definitions.
Given the nature of the traffic flows, the population,
fast-changing weather conditions and the nature of military
installations in nearby counties, it is vital that the
Lexington-Fayette County Division of Emergency Management
have the means and capabilities of communicating to the
These messages are intended not only to communicate
emergency response information that is in direct response to
an accident, incident or natural disaster but also to
communicate awareness and preparedness messages to the
motoring public that travels through the county.
It is critical that the Division of Emergency Management be
able to broadcast important life safety and preparedness
messages to the resident and transient populations when the
highly trained and skilled professionals in the division
determine it to be appropriate. Broadcasting messages that
could save lives and prevent future loss of life and
property damage should not be limited to the narrow
definition currently found in the TIS regulations.
The Lexington-Fayette County TIS system has been used to
provide information to motorists in the case of severe
weather. The best and most timely source of this
information, as well as all-hazard emergency information is
the NOAA Weather Radio network, provided by the federal
government’s Department of Commerce.
Emergency Management Director
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Washington, Controls Its ALERT AM System from a Workstation
WA, March 2011: "Auburn is a city of more than 68,000
people, located in south King and north Pierce Counties,
approximately 20 miles south of Seattle. Our 29.83 square
miles contain three state highways and 211 miles of city
maintained streets, as well as an elevation change of more
than 600 feet. One of those highways serves as a connection
between Interstate 90 and Interstate 5 for those who want
more direct routing or to avoid the metro area. We are home
to a college, a large mall, two significant federal
facilities, a horse track and numerous large companies and
regional distribution centers that both rely upon and
produce items shipped in and out of the city by truck. Just
a mile outside our city limits sits a motor sports track,
which is host to national level professional motor sport
events. All of this leads to our having a large transient
daytime population who may be largely unfamiliar with our
city and to a large commuter population that traverses our
roads as part of their daily commute.
"We purchased our Travelers Information Station (TIS), along
with stationary remotely activated flashing lights and
mobile variable message signs, to provide important life
safety information to our highly mobile population during
times of emergency. It is critical that we be able to carry
out this function, when we feel it is necessary to do so,
regardless of the exact nature of the life safety message
that we choose to broadcast.
"In light of our use of our station to assist motorists in
the recent snowstorm, it is obvious that these stations can
be used to help motorists through the broadcast of weather
conditions and forecasts and all weather-related travel
information. The best and most timely source of this, as
well as all-hazard emergency information is the NOAA Weather
Radio service, provided by our federal government's
Department of Commerce is timely and valuable to motorists
"We support having the safest possible environment for our
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New Jersey's, Emergency Advisory Radio Station
NJ, July 2009: Lyndhurst Township is a progressive
community with a population of 19,383 (the business day
impact grows to 30,000). Located 6 miles west of the Borough
of Manhattan, New York, it is situated among several large
cities – Passaic, Paterson, Newark, North Bergen, Union City
and Jersey City – in the State of New Jersey. Major
Interstate 95 runs along the eastern part of the Township,
and NJ Route 17 runs through the center of the Town; NJ
Route 3 borders the northern side of the Township, and NJ
Route 21 borders the western part of the Township, which
links Newark, Passaic and Paterson, Bergen County Routes 11,
26, 28, 30, 507 and 530 have hazardous materials and freight
being transported on a daily basis. The Township is also in
the flight pattern of Newark Liberty International, Kennedy,
LaGuardia and Teterboro Airports. There is also a newly
constructed heliport, just 1 ¼ miles southwest of the
Township, in the City of Newark.
The Township is surrounded by two large bodies of water, the
Hackensack River and the Passaic River Basin, prone to flash
flooding. Close proximity of the Meadowlands Sports and
Exposition Authority means residual fans vehicles in
commercial parking lots within the meadowlands industrial
area. Mass transit is used to bus them to the stadium.
NJ Transit provides mass transit in our township with bus
and rail operations at two train station locations Kingsland
Station located on Route 17 and Milton Avenue and the
Lyndhurst Train Station at the intersection of Stuyvesant
and Avenues. Conrail provides freight and hazardous
substances transportation. Both these transportation
services, from Hoboken and the Newark Rail Road Yard,
transport to Suffern and Port Jervis, New York.
Lyndhurst has the following educational facilities within
the Township: one high school, seven elementary schools
with another under construction, one parochial and the South
Bergen Jointure Commission High School for the learning
Lyndhurst has the following chemical plants, which are SARA
Title II facilities with a Health Hazard 4 in the Emergency
Response Guidebook for hazardous material incidents: Sika
Chemical Corp and Polyurethane Specialties. Both these
facilities are in located in M-1 zones for light industrial.
One Pre-K school is located 55 yards from Sika Chemical
Corp. Polyurethane is 300 yards east of the South Bergen
Jointure Commission High School.
The Township infrastructure has underground transportation
that consists of one 30" and one 36" high pressure gas main
that run along Interstate 95, supplied by Williams Gas
Pipeline, which feeds the northeastern area of the United
States. The Jersey City United Water Supply Company has two
72" mains that run through the center of the Township west
to east; it does have a past history of water main breaks
that affected drinking water and sanitation for the Cities
of Jersey City, Hoboken and Lyndhurst.
The Travelers Information Station (TIS) is essential to our
community and emergency operations procedures needed to be
meet the Township's emergency operations plan, to provide
citizens with early warning notifications for impending
emergencies. (Impending emergencies are designated as Amber
Alerts, Enhanced 9-1-1 failure, hazardous material
incidents, power outages, public health warnings, existing
road closures, snow emergencies, terrorist threat levels,
severe weather, water main breaks, natural disasters and
other emergency management notices0. Our TIS operates on
1700 kHz with a FCC call sign of WPUV838, first granted in
May 13, 2002.
The Lyndhurst Office of Emergency Management's Local
Emergency Planning Committee does a hazard and threat
analysis once a year to keep our emergency operations plan
up to date.
The Lyndhurst information radio station is important to
Lyndhurst Township’s government, city employees, national
and local businesses and the public safety and emergency
services departments. Access to the TIS for public safety
messages positively impacts the quality of life of those who
live in or visit our community.
With hurricane season in full swing and a new El Niño on the
horizon, not to mention swine flu, in which New Jersey had a
few cases within the last 9 months (two deaths occurred).
Inoculations are expected this fall. Our radio station can
be invaluable in the effort to protect life and property in
Lt. Paul Haggerty,
Public Safety Department
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IL, March 2011: During my employment in Naperville I became
aware of the Travelers Information Radio Service (TIS) and,
after researching this system, decided that it fit perfectly
into our emergency preparedness plans. Naperville (located
in the tornado alley of Illinois) has an extensive emergency
management program, including 25 outdoor warning sirens,
alert radios in all schools and city buildings, emergency
override on both cable TV systems and a pager system to
alert hearing-impaired residents (the City pays cost of
pager). Backing up this system is a volunteer program whose
members are trained in emergency response and weather
watching. The City has an Emergency Operations Centers (EOC)
that is fully equipped with weather monitoring equipment,
emergency radio systems and amateur radio equipment. The TIS
system added a new tool to keep area motorists informed
daily of any emergency as well as day-to-day information
relative to the City of Naperville.
Naperville experienced a citywide flood incident in 1996
that taxed the emergency response plan. Over 10,000 homes
experienced some level of flooding, residents were moved to
emergency shelters, streets were underwater, including an
overpass, cable TV was out and there were power outages. We
were not able to provide any information to our residents
until the cable TV came back on line with the exception of
using the TIS to provide road and traffic information. In
reviewing our response to this disaster, it was noted that
we needed a system to keep the motorists informed and the
Travelers Information Station was the answer.
The TIS station proved to be a most valuable tool. We
programmed into the station system emergency weather
announcements for tornado warnings thus enabling drivers to
seek shelter as a storm approached. We had several heavy and
crippling snow storms during the winters and the station
provided information to residents on what roads were closed
and when areas would be plowed. On a day-to-day basis, the
station has been used to provide information on emergency
road closures and any imminent safety information the City
felt necessary to quickly deliver to people who were
As a Regional President for the International Association of
Emergency Managers (IAEM) I have shared our various programs
for alerting and keeping local motorists informed on a day
to day basis and in times of emergency. The Travelers
Information Station was always first on my list.
UPDATE: In 2014, the City authorized a complete rebuild of
their Information Station system, upgrading to RF-based
Wireless Audio Link as the means of audio distribution
to the synchronized (2) stations; program control via ISS’s
IP76 (file/network based) message repetition system;
InfoRadio Format to increase professional sound and
providing the programming to residents via
StreamCast to PC’s and portable devices. Naperville is
NOAA Weather Radio emergency interrupts as well as their
phone-based audio system as a redundancy.