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Date: 07/07/2017
Title: Accessibility to Emergency Information on Television Deadline Looming

This July 10th is the deadline for the video programming distributors (such as satellite, cable and internet video companies) to comply with the requirement to make accessible audible emergency information to consumers that access the video programming on second screen services (such as smart phones, laptops and tables). 

The rule applies, for example, to emergency information that appears on your TV screen as text crawls and scrolls.  To make this information accessible to people with vision disabilities, the text crawls and scrolls should be accompanied by an audible tone. The tone indicates consumers to tune into the secondary audio stream for more information.
 
Dark clouds in the sky. From the clouds a tornado swirls down, touches the ground and lifts dust.
Emergency situations include:
 
- “Immediate weather situations: tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, tidal waves, earthquakes, icing conditions, heavy snows, widespread fires, warnings and watches of impending weather changes
- Community situations such as: discharge of toxic gases, widespread power failures, industrial explosions, civil disorders, school closings and changes in school bus schedules resulting from such conditions”
 
The emergency information provided must include details about the emergency and how to respond to it. For example:

- “specific details regarding the areas that may be affected by the emergency
- evacuation orders, detailed descriptions of areas to be evacuated and specific evacuation routes
- approved shelters or the way to take shelter in one's home
- instructions on how to secure personal property
- road closures
- how to obtain relief assistance”
 
Emergency information can save lives!  We are very glad that this additional accessibility rule is finally here.
 
Sources: 
- “Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau reminds MVPDs of July 10, 2017 deadline to pass through audible emergency information during linear programming on second screen devices.” Federal Communications Commission, http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0608/DA-17-560A1.pdf
- “Accessibility of Emergency Information on Television.” Federal Communications Commission, https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/accessibility-emergency-information-television

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