What do you do when you’re on base and severe weather is fast approaching or a gunman has started randomly shooting people on base?
The installation command post will warn and provide instructions simultaneously to all government computers, telephones, building public address systems, the outside ‘giant voice’ public address system and social media.
Each base in Air Education and Training Command has an emergency mass notification system to rapidly disseminate critical information to all personnel within minutes of an emergency situation.
“AETC’s emergency notification system is AtHoc Installation Warning System-Alerts,” said Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Garcia, AETC Command Post functional manager. “The system is a network-centric emergency mass notification system capable of notifying base personnel within minutes of an emergency from a single, centralized, web-based system. AtHoc is currently installed on all network computers throughout AETC.”
Each base’s command post is the primary owner. The command post will push alerts at the direction of installation commanders or their representative, Garcia said.
“A forthcoming HQ AETC EMNS concept of operations will outline operational details and provide guidance about ways installations are to use the system. Installation commanders will be the final approval authority for local implementation and use,” he said.
End users should keep contact information current and respond to alerts in a timely manner. Base personnel can update information by using the AtHoc IWS-Alerts self service module; right click on the purple globe icon at the bottom of the screen and select “Access Self Service” and update accordingly.
Garcia points out that though the system notifies base personnel in a short period of time and provides robust notification capabilities, everyone must remember their wingman responsibilities to ensure the 100-percent solution.
For the daily user, with the exception of the desktop alerts, users will only be notified on their personal phone lines for actual emergency situations such as, but not limited to, severe weather events, evacuation orders, specialized recalls, active shooter alerts, etc.
“Ultimately,” Garcia said, “the goal of the installation command post is to provide a means of rapidly notifying AETC personnel during times of emergencies, through multiple avenues, and to accelerate the installation’s response. AtHoc IWS-Alerts provides the capability to reach thousands of people within the AETC via computer pop-ups, land and cell phones, text messaging and installation giant voice systems in real time.”