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Remain ‘Alert,’ register your information

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, TENN. -- It has floated up through the grapevine that there is some confusion, or maybe more correctly put, “consternation” regarding the Emergency Mass Notification System (EMNS) we use here at AEDC.

As you can see below in an excerpt from AFMC guidance on the EMNS dated Dec. 19 2016, Head Quarters has taken notice as well.

“Installations will no longer use ALERT to connect with cell phone, home phone and text messaging for routine notifications (e.g., lightning with 5 miles, winds greater than XX MPH, etc). These notifications were deemed nuisances and are the primary reasons personnel opt out or ignore notifications. These notifications can still be transmitted via the desktop pop-up feature and E-mail,” according to the guidance.

This article will provide some background and a way-ahead for AEDC and hopefully give a better understanding of our system’s capabilities and limitations.

A few months back there was a push to have people sign up for Alert. It is highly important to have current and accurate contact information loaded so that in the event of an emergency, like an active shooter or tornado warning, you will be aware and able to take the proper actions to protect yourself and others.

After the last exercise, several people observed that they were still receiving calls and emails from the Operations Center well after the exercise. The system is designed to keep calling the phone number for the duration set in Alert, normally 4 hours, until the message is positively received; i.e. listening through it and selecting “1” on your phone. Emails are only sent once per alert.

It is important to enter your cell phone number when you register for Alert for two reasons.

First, if you have your landline listed, the bandwidth available for Alert to make calls will be used quickly because there are only so many available phone lines and the amount of time it takes to make 1,500 calls or more will increase greatly. This is why many people received notifications well after the exercise was over.

Second, if you are not at your desk, you will not receive the weather warning or other notifications which could prove catastrophic in the case of severe weather or active shooter scenarios.

The procedures to register for Alert are easy to find.

On the Team AEDC site, click the drop-down menu “Enterprise Applications.” The first item listed is “AFMC Alert Self-Service.” After clicking “Agree” to the consent banner, you will see your personal information page “Edit Client.” You can then enter all the information required by clicking on the box or drop-down arrow. Under phone numbers, please list your off-duty number and check the box below the “Receive SMS” as this will allow us to send text messages verses phone calls which are more efficient. We do not normally use the text message function during exercises but it could be a key form of communication in a real-world emergency.

Keep in mind that this system is designed to provide important information that may save your life and the lives of others, but no system is perfect. If you have questions or concerns call the Operations Center at 454-7752 and they will answer them.

As we saw during the recent severe weather event, even a few minutes notice can save life, limb and property.