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FCC Seeks Public Comments for Missing and Endangered Persons Event Code

Featured Photo: Getty Images

In a bid to enhance public safety and awareness, Native Public Media (NPM) petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a Missing and Endangered Persons Event Code (MEP). Like the well-known Amber Alert, the MEP Event Code will enable the dissemination of public alerts concerning missing or endangered adults using the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). IPAWS, operational across all 50 states and U.S. territories, is a pivotal tool in broadcasting emergency alerts to the public.


"NPM's initiative comes as a response to the critical need for an effective mechanism to address cases involving missing and endangered adults, a demographic often overlooked in emergency response. The proposed MEP Event Code will bridge this gap, ensuring swift and widespread dissemination of information crucial for locating and assisting missing or endangered adults," explains Loris Taylor, NPM President and CEO.


On April 18, 2024, the MEP Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was published in the Federal Register. This document outlines the proposed regulations intended to address the issue of missing and endangered adults. The public is encouraged to review the NPRM online and comment on the proposed rules.


NPM Board Vice Chair Brian Brashier emphasizes the importance of public participation in the FCC rulemaking process. "The FCC public comment windows allow individuals, organizations, and stakeholders to contribute their insights, concerns, and suggestions for establishing and implementing the MEP Event Code. The FCC values public input and recognizes its importance in shaping policies that impact communities nationwide."


The public comment period is open until May 20, 2024. Another opportunity for public reply comments will be available until June 17, 2024. Interested parties can voice their opinions and provide valuable feedback on the proposed regulations.


"You don't have to be a lawyer to submit comments," explains NPM Board Director Clarice Chiago-Jones. "The public can submit comments through the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), accessible online. Individuals wishing to contribute to the discourse surrounding the MEP Event Code can file their comments electronically via the ECFS platform. This user-friendly interface streamlines the process, allowing efficient and transparent engagement with the FCC's regulatory proceedings."


Furthermore, the FCC's Office of Native Affairs and Policy (ONAP) has announced plans to conduct MEP Tribal consultations. ONAP will facilitate dialogue and gather input from tribal communities regarding the proposed MEP Event Code. The ONAP will communicate details regarding the scheduling of these consultations in the coming days.


As the FCC moves forward with the NPRM process, the public's input remains instrumental in shaping the future of emergency alert systems in the United States. Establishing the Missing and Endangered Persons Event Code represents a significant step towards bolstering the nation's ability to respond effectively to cases involving missing or endangered adults.


"With the public comment window now open, stakeholders are encouraged to actively participate in this vital discourse actively, ensuring that the MEP Event Code is comprehensive, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of all communities. The MEP Event Code will benefit all Americans," concludes Brashier.


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