Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Greg Walden stresses the importance of modernizing emergency alert systems

May 17, 2017
Press Release

Greg Walden stresses the importance of modernizing emergency alert systems

Calls for action to ensure first responders have access to advanced emergency alert technology

Click here or on the image above to view Walden’s remarks from today’s hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today led a hearing on modernizing America’s emergency alert system. Walden acknowledged the great strides that have been made in emergency alert technology, and called for action to ensure first responders have access to the latest advancements.

“As we move forward, we want to make sure that our first responder community,  and the citizens they serve and protect, have access to the latest technologies. And we want to make sure that is an evolving force, not something that is simply locked in place,” said Walden. “We’ve come a long way since the 1950s with the emergency broadcast system, and now we’re going into a new age. We need to make sure that federal policy doesn’t inhibit technological advancement. We need to make sure that we are providing the help that our first responders, our broadcasters, and cable providers need when it comes to making sure that people are notified in an emergency.”

As a former radio broadcaster in Oregon, Walden has seen first-hand the evolution of emergency alert broadcasting technology. Walden authored legislation that created FirstNet, an independent agency tasked with developing an advanced, nationwide public safety network. FirstNet will provide America’s first responders with a single, interoperable communications platform to utilize in emergencies. 

This platform is especially important for rural Oregon, and will provide fire fighters and first responders with access to highly reliable connectivity in remote locations. The FirstNet network will also better enable first responders in these areas to connect to emergency room physicians, when the nearest hospital may be hours away.  

Recently, FirstNet awarded a 25-year competitive contract to build and maintain the public safety network. FirstNet has the potential to supply advanced emergency communication technology to 4 million public safety users nationwide, and the building and maintenance of the FirstNet network is slated to create over 10,000 jobs. To read more about FirstNet, please visit their website at firstnet.gov.

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