Travel Alert for Broadcast Engineers During COVID-19

By Waveguide Editor Jim Dalke CPBE AMD 8VSD CBNT –

Governor Jay Inslee has issued a “Stay Home – Stay Healthy” order for Washington state with non-essential businesses to close March 25 for a minimum of 14 days.  While this order is not as restrictive as “Shelter in place”, it does mean the state can limit your travel unless you can prove you are working in an essential business.  Radio and television stations are specifically considered an essential business and may continue to operate.

The First Informer legislation passed by the Washington legislature was designed to permit engineers to access broadcast studio and transmitter facilities during a declared emergency.

Broadcast engineers should have certain documents with them anytime they are traveling to and from their studio and transmitter facilities under the current restrictions.

The engineer should, of course, have a valid driver’s license and an identification card issued by their employer, or at a minimum a company business card or letter of authorization from the station management.  In addition, to meet the requirements of the Washington First Informer regulations, the engineer should have in his possession a Business Re-Entry (BRE) Registration Card issued to their employer and copies of letters from the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) for access and a second letter from CISA for fuel transport.

The BRE card is actually in letter form instead of an ID Card like Oregon is providing for its First Informer program.

In summary, carry the following with you at all times you are traveling on broadcast business during the COVID-19 National Emergency:

  1. Valid drivers license
  2. Employee identification card, company business card or letter of authorization from employer.
  3. Business Re-Entry (BRE) Registration card issued to employer.
  4. Current CISA letter of authorization for access for provider of emergency communications.
  5. Current CISA letter of authorization for emergency generator fuel for provider of emergency communications.

Resources:

Business Re-Entry (BRE) Registration Application: https://mil.wa.gov/business-re-entry-registration

CISA COVID-19 Emergency Access Letter: https://files.constantcontact.com/60a790fd501/18c64808-4bf6-4066-8ad0-19b2e45e6ae3.pdf

CISA COVID-19 Emergency Fuel Letter: https://files.constantcontact.com/60a790fd501/f93d407c-f435-4657-8889-1800ac010ea7.pdf

If you have comments or questions, please go to the comment section at the end of this post.

Here is a sample of the documents you should carry while on the road during the COVID-19 emergency:



4 comments for “Travel Alert for Broadcast Engineers During COVID-19

  1. sbe161
    March 25, 2020 at 10:21 am

    Oregon broadcast engineers should be aware of this Washington business travel advisory.

  2. Dave Ratener
    March 25, 2020 at 11:09 am

    I saw the governor’s news conference about this,, he specifically stated that the media was critical in helping get information out to the public. I can’t believe that they would stop the media if you have a business card and/or some sort of identification, at least i would hope not.
    Dave Ratener

  3. Anonymous
    March 25, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    While you would think that the Governor’s message/words and application of common sense would allow broadcasters thru. But common sense can’t always be relied upon. I think it would be wise to be prepared to have to display credentials incase of an especially strict person wanting to apply what they think is best.

    On the other hand,,,, one time nearly 20 years ago I was responding to the transmitter site of an AM radio station in Oregon and the Oregon National Guard had the area shut down with a curfew and not allowing traffic in because of a recent flood. I told the Guardsman why I was there and my need to go past his otherwise closed checkpoint and showed him my US Navy Reserve ID card. He took one brief look at the Navy ID card and said “that’s good enough for me” and yelled to his co-worker “let this guy thru he is Navy in civilian clothing and authorized to be in the area”! I said “thank you” and drove thru!

    I *ALWAYS* carry my military ID with me – that experience is one of the reasons! (Also works good for getting free snacks/meals at the USO Club in airports!)

  4. March 25, 2020 at 8:15 pm

    Thanks for posting this information Jim – the WSAB is pleased that the Governor signed the First Informer Broadcaster Bill into law in 2019 and that he acknowledged the media’s role in conveying safety and recovery information to citizens of the state of Washington during his statewide address on March 24, 2020. Thanks to all of the engineers and technicians that keep our radio and television stations on the air, and to the reporters and content creators that are keeping listeners and viewers informed across the state of Washington – live, local broadcasting is shining in the face of this adversity.

    Keith Shipman, President & CEO
    Washington State Association of Broadcasters

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