New notification system alerts employees on, off post
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. (Oct. 27, 2015) -- Alerting employees and on post Family members is guaranteed with a new four-prong notification system here.

The depot's new mass notification system uses audio, visual and computer equipment in a crisis situation to make sure employees will know what is happening and what to do.

The enhanced system was fielded and funded by the Army under their Emergency Management Modernization Program, or EM2P.

"This system is designed to alert all personnel of crisis situations, such as a terrorist attack or hazardous material spill," said Brett Morgenweck, installation emergency manager in the Risk Management Division. "If you have a cell phone, or a computer, or are in or outside anywhere on post, you will be informed as soon as possible. Army Materiel Command's emergency management coordinator, Mark Schmitz, provided us fantastic support to ensure these systems were deployed to the depot well ahead of schedule."

The EM2P fielded system works with four integrated components, three of which are fully deployed and one that is deployed but will be improved by next month.

The first is called At Hoc and works by computer and cell/smart phone. "When we need to get the word out about a crisis, we can send it by computer so that it will pop up on everyone's PC or laptop, on post or off, as long as they are logged into the network," Morgenweck said. "We can also send a message to employee e-mail addresses and voicemail, and text to work and personal cell phones that are registered in the system."

Employees can register their work e-mail address, work phone number, home phone and cell phone. Instructions are located on the Intranet under the Emergency Management/EOC tab on the main menu.

At Hoc has capabilities to address privacy concerns in an emergency situation. For example, in an active shooter crisis, text messages can be sent to cell phones warning employees to place them in vibration mode to avoid making noise. It can send messages about weather-forced closings or delays.

"If we need to evacuate the depot, we can use it to tell employees in phases to facilitate an orderly exit," Morgenweck said. "This system will only be used during tests, to request additional information, exercises and of course in an emergency situation. It will not be used as an alert in non-emergency situations, such as advertising non-emergency meetings."

The second subsystem is enhanced 911. This allows emergency responders to locate a caller via GPS in case the caller cannot speak due to injury or the need to keep silent. Using a desk phone will put an employee in contact with the depot's fire department and law enforcement personnel.

"If an employee uses their cell phone here, the call will be routed to the Monroe County 911 Center, where operators can immediately reroute it to the depot," Morgenweck said.

The third subsystem includes audio, programmable lights and electronic message boards in high noise areas of the depot, such as the C4ISR Finishing Division, and plating, painting and machining areas. The lights are amber strobes that will alert employees, who can then get information via announcements and the message boards.

"These audio and visual systems take up where At Hoc can miss to ensure all employees are informed in a crisis situation," Morgenweck said.

Finally, the Giant Voice system already in place, used to make announcements to employees who may be outdoors or near windows, will be integrated with At Hoc to provide a computerized voice ability to send automatic and custom messages.

"This modification will be fielded early next month," Morgenweck said. "The entire Mass Notification System will be tested on a monthly basis to ensure it's operational at all times."

Related Links: North America News