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Mr. DAVID SCOTT of Georgia. Tomorrow is June 1, and it marks the very start of the hurricane season in the United States.
First, I want to take a moment to thank our first responders--those police officers, those firefighters, those EMS personnel, and all of our emergency personnel--who risk their lives to save Americans' lives.
I also want to stand and thank and recognize another group of first responders, those who are our brave and talented--and at many times courageous--local broadcasters of television and radio and the journalists, many of whom are the first right after the first responders, sometimes before the first responders, bringing to the American people vital, life-saving information. So it is very important that as we begin this hurricane season that we take a moment and say a word for our local broadcasters of television and radio.
I know firsthand how important this is, for I represent a district in Georgia that had a devastating, history-making flood and storm situation in 2009. I represent Cobb County and Douglas County, which were two of the hardest-hit counties, along with Fulton County. We lost 10 lives. Seven of those lives that we lost were from one county alone, in Douglas County. Many of you might have seen the devastation at the Six Flags Over Georgia, which is an amusement park. It was completely under water. We lost over 500 businesses and homes in that area. Most importantly, we would have lost so much more if we had not had the timely, vital, life-saving information from our local radio and television broadcasters.
A broadcaster's commitment to public service is never more apparent than during a time of crisis. During an emergency, no other service can match the ability of broadcasters to deliver the comprehensive, up-to-date warnings and information affected by citizens. Just think, we have senior citizens, many of whom live alone, and their only contact with the outside world is that radio or that television letting them know what is coming and how to prepare for it. Television broadcasters reach millions of households across the country every day, and radio reaches more than 241 million Americans each week.
Yet, if we are to improve disaster preparedness in our Nation, we have got to make sure that local stations of television and radio have the necessary tools to continue to communicate with people and to communicate with each other in these times of crisis.
So as the 2012 hurricane season gets under way and as local communities continue to face erratic weather conditions, I know that every American feels safer in knowing that their local broadcasters are dedicated and committed to saving lives by providing critical news and information to our local communities. It is so important that we always remember that we must prepare for the storms before--before--the hurricanes are raging, and we thank our local broadcasters for helping us to prepare for the storms before the hurricanes are raging.