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Protecting Kentucky

KET’s transmission towers carry more than television programs

When disaster strikes, emergency management officials say they’re thankful to have a statewide transmission network that keeps working even when other forms of communication go dark.

And KET’s network—the same system of transmitters and towers that deliver the latest Masterpiece drama, Nature documentary and Daniel Tiger episode to your home—plays an important role ensuring that weather officials, first responders and law enforcement agencies can maintain communications in tornadoes, floods, forest fires and other critical situations.

The best warning system is one that works in multiple ways—and KET’s transmission network is part of the backbone of our communications with the general public. If power is lost to the cell towers, for instance, our information still gets to where it needs to go because of this backup system. And it saves lives.

Joe Sullivan, Meteorologist, Kentucky Emergency Management

“The best warning system is one that works in multiple ways—and KET’s transmission network is part of the backbone of our communications with the general public,” says Joe Sullivan, a meteorologist with the Kentucky Emergency Management. “If power is lost to the cell towers, for instance, our information still gets to where it needs to go because of this backup system. And it saves lives.” 

KET’s network of towers and transmitters — which are much taller than regional radio or cell-phone towers — house an assortment of local, state and federal agencies’ communications systems. Each site is backed up with emergency generators and can run for up to 72 hours after loss of commercial power. With fuel deliveries, KET’s transmission sites can remain powered indefinitely, ensuring critical communication support in the event of an emergency.

This infrastructure helps KET partner with and support the emergency communications of a wide variety of state and federal agencies, including:

  • Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN)
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)
  • Emergency Alert System (EAS)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • Kentucky Division of Emergency Management
  • Kentucky Division of Forestry
  • Kentucky Emergency Warning System (KEWS)
  • Kentucky National Guard
  • Kentucky State Police
  • Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
  • National Weather Service (NOAA)
  • Regional EMS and Sheriffs’ Departments
  • Sheriff’s departments & local emergency management officials
  • U.S. Secret Service
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)/PBS WARN

As part of the federal government’s Emergency Alert System, KET is ready to serve. And with changing technologies forthcoming, KET is uniquely positioned to further expand its public safety role and collaborate with the state’s emergency management team and network of Kentucky broadcasters to provide enhanced services in the near future.