INDIAN COUNTRY, USA – Minnesota experienced flooding so severe that a State of Emergency was declared for 36 counties and one Tribal Nation earlier this year. In California, record-breaking disastrous fires destroyed homes, local businesses, and wooded eco-systems; even taking the lives of those caught in its path.
Both disasters have uprooted entire communities and wreaked havoc in the lives of many, and strained the coffers of local governments.
With the safety of the public of high priority across Tribal communities, emergency preparedness has become a critical piece of community planning.
Native Public Media plays a key role as a national emergency responder by using its own customized curriculum to train broadcast personnel as First Responders who are in charge of key radio and television facilities providing service to Native American communities.
NPM lead trainer Melissa Begay is FEMA trained and teaches broadcasters how to create their own Station Emergency Operations Plan, how to draft alerts/news for air during emergencies, and how to conduct community scans that provide critical information about local conditions, populations, resources, and cultural assets.
Personnel from stations KBFT, WGZS, and KKWE participated in the Minnesota training, while KPRI and KBPT personnel participated in the California training.
“I found the emergency communications training to be beneficial for broadcasters and first responders,” stated Dan Huculak of 89.1 WGZS. “Native owned radio stations must do more with fewer resources than their non-Native counterparts, and the training will help station staff and volunteers interact with communities in which they broadcast.”
“Our training is about building capacity and resilience,” explains Loris Taylor, NPM President & CEO. “Radio and television stations that serve Indian Country are more than music jukeboxes. They are a lifeline for Tribal members in often remote landscapes where emergency information could mean the difference between life and death.”
In addition to emergency communications training, Elyse Dempsey, NPM Program Assistant, also provided underwriting training for non-commercial Tribal stations.