The Source
  Issue Date • November 2015 Print this newsletter.
"Fire in them Hills"
Montecito Fire Protection District engages all available technology to keep residents safe during "Gibraltar Incident" fire.
Gibraltar Firefighters 
MONTECITO, CA:  Residents of coastal communities east of Santa Barbara rolled out of bed to an early morning emergency last week. A pre-dawn brush fire driven by stiff winds had enflamed 50 acres of National Forest land, threatening thousands living downwind. By 6:09 AM, a massive response had begun: a dozen agencies with ten helicopters, 20 fire engines, 4 bulldozers, 10 air-tankers, a DC10 and 8 hand crews began arriving to attack flames that the firefighters knew were only too eager to feast on the drought-dry vegetation.
Gibraltar Fire Evacuation Area
Gibraltar Incident Evacuation Areas - October 29 and 30, 2015
The evacuation order was issued; and, as motorists streamed from the affected areas, they monitored a stream of information generated by Gerry Ventura and the staff at the Montecito Fire Protection District, utilizing their Information Radio Station on AM 1610. The District also simulcasts the same programming over a StreamCast delivered to desktop PCs and portable devices. More than 750 "hits" on that stream tell Montecito officials that delivery of the emergency information across multiple platforms is important. StreamCasting allows interested parties inside and outside the radio coverage area to get regular updates and stay apprised.

The evacuation order was in effect for more than 24 hours. But due to the aggressive response and accurate information provided, not one structure and not one person was lost.
Montecito Fire District website 
Montecito Fire Protection District's website allows residents to click and hear StreamCast evacuation information on their mobile devices.
AAIRO website 
FCC Blesses TISs
New rule changes will benefit public safety, emergency managers.
ZEELAND, MI:  The rules that govern the Travelers Information Service have changed for the better since the late 2000s, and the benefactor is the local emergency manager. Ironically, it all began with a rather harsh FCC ruling in 2006 that involved the rebroadcast of NOAA Weather Radio content on TIS stations. It ended with the formation of the American Association of Information Radio Operators (AAIRO), created so licensees could have a conduit to speak to the FCC about concerns.

They did, and the FCC responded.

Last month, AAIRO submitted an article for publication in the International Association of Emergency Managers’ national publication the IAEM Bulletin; the article had two purposes:

1 ... It summarizes the various changes that FCC has made to FCC Part 90.242 Rules that greatly benefit public safety...and...

2 ... It thanks IAEM for encouraging AAIRO’s formation and their quest to represent the operators of Travelers Information Stations as an advocate to the FCC.

Included in that summary:
  • FCC clarifies that TIS stations can broadcast any information from any source that would protect life and property from imminent danger and/or in emergency situations.
  • FCC makes clear that the determiner of the station’s content is the licensee/ emergency manager because of his intimate knowledge of his community and its specific hazards and threats.
  • FCC states that synchronized TIS stations are allowed.
  • FCC allows new and existing TIS stations to expand their bandwidth to 5 kHz to match the audio quality of conventional broadcast stations.
  • FCC allows waivers for TIS stations to go above and beyond traditional technical limitations such as signal strength, antenna height and frequency allocations to extend signal coverage and provide service in instances where the applicant can demonstrate that local broadcasters will not be affected negatively.
AAIRO also thanked the IAEM for its encouragement over the years and for including the referenced article in their October Bulletin.

Now approaching 400 members strong, AAIRO will soon complete its first decade as the first and only advocate for TIS licensees who use the medium as an invaluable tool for public safety.

Membership in this nonprofit organization is free to operators, licensees and interested others.
Unique TR6000 TIS Transmitter 
"HQ" Debut
The world's first full-bandwidth TIS transmitters are on the air.
ZEELAND, MI:  New Travelers Information transmitters installed by Information Station Specialists will sound better than ever. 67% better, in fact. That’s how much wider the bandwidth of the new TR6000 “HQ5.0” Transmitter is compared with predecessors.

Moving from the older 3000Hz bandwidth to 5000Hz doesn’t sound like that big of a deal until you recognize that contained within that new 2000Hz slice of audio spectrum is all the “consonance” of human speech – all the brightness, the t’s and the s’s that are so critical to intelligibility.

The expansion will allow Information Station operators to put signals on the air that rival conventional broadcasters in terms of listening quality.

As mentioned in prior editions of The Source, FCC is in the process of approving add-on filters and processors that will allow existing operators to upgrade to the “HQ” service as well. Watch The Source for an announcement in a future issue regarding the coming approval.
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EMEX on the Strip 
"EMEX" on the Strip
Nation's premier emergency management expo plays Las Vegas, November 16-18,
LAS VEGAS, NV:  The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) is bringing its “show” to Las Vegas this year; and Information Station Specialists is honored to be a part of it.

The 63rd annual event is billed as the “Top Emergency Management and Homeland Security Expo,” and for good reason. More than 2000 emergency management officials from all over the globe will be in attendance.

The Paris Hotel on the Las Vegas strip is hosting the 6-day conference, which includes the “EMEX” Exposition.

If you will be there, look for Information Station Specialists at exhibit Booth #330, Monday through Wednesday, November 16-18.