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FCC Reminds Video Program Distributors about Accessible Emergency Info

September 2014 – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Public Notice to remind video programming distributors of their obligation to make emergency information accessible to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired in accordance with section 79.2 of the FCC’s [47 C.F.R.] regulations. The notice applies to “broadcasters, cable operators, satellite television services, and any other distributor of video programming” as specified by the code of federal regulations. Under section 79.2, video programming distributors must make emergency information that is primarily intended for distribution to an audience in the geographic area in which the emergency is occurring accessible. The notice clarifies that those outside of the affected areas should also be notified with accessible information as relocation may be necessary.

The Public Notice additionally addresses information regarding how consumers file complaints for noncompliance with this obligation. The obligation requires that emergency information is accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. FCC rules specify that emergency information provided in the audio portion of programming be made accessible using closed captioning, open captioning, crawls or scrolls that appear on the screen.

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The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number 90RE5007-01-00. The opinions contained in this website are those of the Wireless RERC and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or NIDILRR.