FORT KNOX, Ky. — In an effort to better meet the needs of customers, the Fort Knox Environmental Management Division has taken steps to connect through the use of Quick Response, or QR, codes.

Environmental Management Division takes steps to keep pace with Soldiers, digital environment
In an effort to better meet the needs of customers, the Fort Knox Environmental Management Division has taken steps to connect through the use of Quick Response, or QR, codes. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Fort Knox EMD) VIEW ORIGINAL

As an example, Environmental Protection specialist Brenda Wolfskill, a training specialist with the Plans and Operations Branch, has been integrating QR codes into the monthly Environmental Focus on Fort Knox newsletters, as well as marketing materials and posters, since 2019.

“Having our QR code ‘Quick Links’ poster hanging in work areas allows us to reach a much larger audience, reduces time spent accessing important information, and allows us to reduce the need for printing out full handbooks. Just click to connect! It’s that easy,” said Wolfskill. “Our main focus is to ensure regulatory compliance, and we do this this through education, inspections and sharing of information.

“Any avenue we can use to get our message of conformity and sustainability out to the community is a potential savings and reduction in environmental liability for the installation.”

QR codes allow users to connect to important information and more with their cell phones, without having to remember increasingly lengthy URLs for websites.

In addition to the QR codes in the monthly newsletters, EMD has created a poster that contains QR codes for important environmental topics, and common areas of non-compliance. Gone are the days of searching for a hard copy of a handbook and time spent looking for the correct information, said Wolfskill; just point a camera phone at the QR code and hit enter, if necessary.

She said she has even made their business cards digital, complete with interactive access links to chat via MS Teams, email and more.

“If we want to move forward, we have to incorporate new advancements into our business operations, and QR codes have been a great process to include,” said Wolfskill. “Change requires change; energy begets energy — keep up with the changing times, or become invisible.”

The Army Environmental Policy contains three pillars: Pollution prevention, compliance with the law, and continual improvement.

Wolfskill explained that the division’s top priorities include conservation and sustainment, such as saving paper, preventing pollution, and reducing the amount of waste the installation creates. As a result, she believes they are able to accommodate Soldiers and all of Fort Knox by changing by employing changing technology.

The response to QR posters has been overwhelmingly positive, according to Wolfskill, and the use of QR codes in other areas has also been welcomed.

“QR Codes allow our Soldiers, and Fort Knox, the ability to find valuable information expeditiously. They reduce the amount of time spent finding information needed in the event of an environmental emergency or in regular every day duties,” said Wolfskill. “This tool extends our ability to assist Soldiers in mission success, streamline an antiquated process, and fulfill the third pillar of our environmental policy.”