Public Media, Public Safety: Introduction
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PBS is a membership organization that, with its member stations, serves the American public with programming and services of the highest quality...  

PBS offers programming that expands the minds of children, documentaries that open up new worlds, non-commercialized news programs that keep citizens informed on world events and cultures and programs that expose America to the worlds of music, theater, dance and art. It is a multi-platform media organization that serves Americans through television, mobile devices, the web, in the classroom, and more. 

- PBS Mission Statement

PBS and public television stations have always offered programming that helps our viewers to discover the world around them, but our system’s commitment to serving the American people goes beyond our content. Each day, PBS and local stations are working hard to use our expertise and broadcast technology to help ensure public safety.

These efforts include a wide array of emergency messaging, including: 

  • AMBER alerts and weather warnings delivered to cell phones by the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system. PBS and local stations ensure the nationwide reliability of WEA with the PBS Warning, Alert, and Response Network (PBS WARN). WEA-delivered AMBER alerts have already led to 25 rescued children since the program started in 2013.
  • Emergency Alerts automatically translated to reach communities where English isn't the dominant language; 
  • Police and first responders seamlessly sharing closed circuit video while tracking a suspect in a simulated crisis; 
  • Police cars that can instantly receive data to their onboard computers, no matter how congested cellular networks get and
  • Statewide public broadcasting networks that back up the statewide public safety networks. 

These are all ways in which PBS and local public television stations are using the power of our broadcast to save lives and improve public safety in communities around the country. Over the next few months, the PBS Digital SPI blog will partner with PBS Technology and Operations to focus on these stories and more. 

Upcoming articles in this series will focus on public safety programs that stations across the country have implemented. 

Part 1: The PBS WARN Program 
Part 2: Multilingual EAS in Minnesota 
Part 3: Relaying Emergency Alert System statewide 
Part 4: Datacasting to First Responders