That’s part of a bill signed into law by Oregon Governor Kate Brown last week.
Passed by the Oregon state legislature, HB 2210 allows designated broadcasters to enter areas during an emergency to report news or public safety information or maintain “essential broadcast equipment.” The legislation empowers the governor’s office to approve credentials issued by the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.
The OOEM is tasked with developing a procedure to credential such First Responders. That may lead to a private entity that represents the majority of broadcasters in the state to develop a training program for broadcasters who want to be qualified as first responders; one of the goals would be to help train broadcasters get their job done while staying out of the way of those performing emergency services, according to the bill.
The measure defines a broadcaster as someone who holds an FCC license, and maintaining “essential broadcast equipment” includes repairing or resupplying transmitters, generators or other essential gear at the station or transmitter site. Broadcasters designated as first responders can travel on roads in the designated emergency areas and have access to fuel, water, food, supplies or equipment needed to product a broadcast or transmit a signal.
None of the broadcast supplies can be seized by an emergency service agency, according to the text.