Public Safety

Public Safety

Public broadcasters have embraced their public safety mission and are focused on maximizing their broadcast spectrum to help keep the public safe.

Alert & Warning

Public television stations are the backbone of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) through which the President of the United States can alert the American people to national emergencies. Many local public television stations also serve as their State’s primary EAS hub for sever weather and AMBER alerts.

Public television spectrum is critical to the Wireless Emergency Alert system that sends cell subscribers geo-targeted text messages in the event of a local emergency – reaching them wherever they are in time of crisis.

Public Safety Datacasting

Public television stations enable State and local law enforcement and first responder agencies to use datacasting to communicate with one another and with the public in times of emergency. 

Public television stations’ datacasting technology helps law enforcement deal with challenging situations ranging from school shootings (providing blueprints of schools in real time to improve emergency response) to crowd control at major events such as the Super Bowl.

Through datacasting partnerships, with agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, public television stations are able to customize their infrastructure and broadcasting spectrum to securely transmit essential encrypted information to first responders in the field in real time without the capacity constraints of traditional mobile or broadband delivery.

Local public television stations reach almost 97% of the American public with an over-the-air broadcast signal, providing a critical communications capacity to local first responders, particularly in rural areas that are not served by other communications services.

To provide critical nationwide support to first responders, public television stations have committed 1 Megabit per second of spectrum for datacasting for the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet).

  • APTS Datacasting One-Pager

    This one-pager from America’s Public Television Stations explains how public television uses datacasting to provide a solution to public safety communications challenges in local communities.

  • DHS Datacasting Resources

    These resources from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) explain how datacasting is improving video streaming and data sharing for public safety entities.

  • Datacasting Video

    This video explains datacasting in 100 seconds.

  • Datacasting Use Cases

    Read some examples of how public television is providing public safety services in places such as Chicago, Houston, California and Indiana.