The Source
Issue Date • December 2014
This Is Only an Exercise
Tennessee Public Health Agency Tests Innovative Means to Advise Parents, Students & Citizens during School Lock-Down
TN FASTrack Sign Announces Radio StationSPRING HILL, TN: You arrive at school, but instead of a learning environment, you encounter a terrifying one, replete with strobes, bullhorns and bomb-sniffing canines. What is your next move? The Tennessee Department of Health’s answer recently was:  “Tune your radio to 1670 AM.”

The Spring Hill Middle School campus was surrounded by emergency vehicles at 8 AM on October 23, 2014. A parent had abducted a child, and a bomb had been hidden on the property. The school building was “locked-down” and then evacuated. Onsite were city, county and state law enforcement, along with local Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Management, fire, school personnel, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Of course, none of it was real, but the Tennessee Department of Health made sure that arriving parents were advised of that while still in their cars prior to encountering the potentially frightening scene. Hear the broadcast.
TN Health's EMC Lynn Burns 
Lynn Burns of Tennessee Health Emergency Response poses with the Agency’s portable response trailer that now includes a portable radio station capability.

Lynn Burns, the Emergency Response Coordinator with the Department, wanted arriving parents and students, as well as neighbors and passers-by, to know that what they were seeing was not the real thing. A RadioSTAT portable radio station was deployed to broadcast exercise details, including its purpose, date, start and end times from the school property across all roadways within a 5-mile radius. Portable signs were erected at critical approach locations to advise motorists of the informational radio signal. The signs had text that reinforced that the event was an exercise. “In light of recent active shooter incidents,” asserts Burns, “we felt it was important. I talked to several agencies regarding the [radio] system, and they were very impressed
TN Health Radio Station Electronics 
The RadioSTAT portable broadcast station was temporarily located in an athletic building on Spring Hill Middle School property. 
 with what we could do and how simple it was to deploy.”

The RadioSTAT system was acquired within the Centers for Disease Control's Public Health Emergency Preparedness Grant Program, distributed by the State of Tennessee to the South Central Region. The unit will be employed for all manner of real emergencies that require public notification, including possible pandemic preparation and Points of Dispensing. It is licensed for operation throughout the state. Burns intends to utilize it to support his agency’s safety activities at the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival near Manchester, Tennessee, which draws 90,000 patrons to South Central Tennessee each June. For events of Bonnaroo’s magnitude, a RadioSTAT
Lynn Burns with FASTrack Sign 
Lynn Burns customizes text on portable signage prior to the school emergency exercise.
system can play many roles, from the broadcast of conventional traffic, parking and directional information to critical emergency information, should an incident occur that would require venue evacuation.
Go Elsewhere or Go Dark
FCC Ruling Will Make Life Difficult for Top-of-Band Information Stations near New York
WASHINGTON, DC: The day before Thanksgiving, the FCC granted a broadcast station in Southern New York State a construction permit to change its AM operating frequency from 1300 to 1700. But a dozen information radio station operators in New York and New Jersey who, as a result, will be required to change frequencies or go off the air, are not so thankful.
1700-Band Info Stations 
Some information stations on AM 1700 in the larger circled area will receive interference from WRCR. Certain stations on AM 1690 within the inner circle may receive interference as well. The likelihood of interference is increased the closer to the center of the circle(s) the information station is located.
WRCR Radio, which has operated in Spring Valley, New York, on the 1300 frequency for decades, has been issued a permit by the FCC allowing it to kick up its power twenty-fold to 10,000 watts and to shift frequencies to the top of the band. Some area information stations on AM 1700 and 1690, which are secondary in priority, must make way.

Affected will be stations operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at Kennedy Airport and the Port of Newark, Westchester County Airport and various communities in Northern New Jersey. The Township of Clark, New Jersey, which has been licensed on the 1700 frequency since just after the attacks of 9/11/2001, has already undertaken a frequency search and applied for an alternate AM frequency in preparation.

To learn if your information station should be making preparations to move, contact Bill Baker at Information Station Specialists. It is recommended that, to avoid service disruption, affected stations should make frequency changes in advance of WRCR's migration to 1700.