As climate change and weather-related events presented new challenges for KVMR over the past three years, the station developed an innovative new program to improve its emergency coverage and services.
KVMR’s cross-platform approach to providing emergency information includes FM broadcasts, up-to-date social media posts and on-demand internet resources throughout each event. KVMR has engaged a comprehensive training program for its volunteers, developing a network of “go-to” sources that provide reliable emergency information including Nevada County’s Office of Emergency Services and Yubanet – an online publication for the Sierra Nevada region known for it’s up to the minute fire reporting.
KVMR’s emergency coverage expands and connects the listening audience and is a lifeline for elderly and low-income community members as well as those without internet access who live in remote and rural parts of Nevada County. The service KVMR provides allows for equal access to resources and information helping all community members navigate safely through an emergency.
KVMR engaged the community in the process by conducting surveys to determine how emergency information can be communicated most effectively. Listeners generate many of the questions posed to county officials during interviews. This fosters clear communication between the community and the county agencies serving it.
KVMR has had to find more reliable ways to maintain temperature controls at transmitter sites, access sites to repair equipment during storms or fires and secure electricians and suppliers who must travel from miles away during emergencies to make repairs. Increased fire insurance rates and additional staffing during emergencies have added 30k to KVMR’s annual operating expenses.
During quiet times, KVMR assembled remote broadcasting kits, put evacuation plans in place and fleshed out a plan to better mobilize volunteers.
We believe there will be a greater need for rural stations to serve their listeners in this way as climate change continues to impact our communities. KVMR hopes to create a multi-media guide that can be used by other stations that will include filmed trainings, a template for an emergency procedure handbook and information about how to include your listeners in the process of developing your emergency coverage.