Fort Bragg has been prioritized as the number one installation by headquarters Department of the Army G-34 to establish a telephone and network alerting system. The enterprise system, which is being pushed by the HQDA, will address issues found during the Fort Hood, Texas shooting in 2009, said Keith Lundquist, chief, Protection Branch, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.
Following is information provided by Lundquist and Jim Cress, emergency manager, DPTMS:
Q: What is AtHoc?
L: AtHoc is a telephone alerting and a network alerting system for installations. This is an enterprise system being pushed by HQDA, G-34. This system will be used to address issues that were found during the Fort Hood shooting. and Fort Bragg was prioritized as the number one installation to receive this system.
Q: How are people to register for the notification system?
L: Registration procedures and more information will be pushed out at a later date through garrison operations and the Corps G-3. But registration can basically be done from your computer. You have to be on a dot.mil account, so your spouse and dependants won’t be able to register. The spouse, whether it be husband or wife, will have to register their Family members.
C: Registration can be done as long as they’re on the Fort Bragg domain.
Q: How is the alerting system applied?
L: The alerting system is for home phone, cell phone, text messages, and email if you have that feature on your phone. The network alerting system is a notification pop-up that will show on your computer screen. It’s similar to the system North Carolina uses.
Q: Once someone registers, why would you send alerts?
L: We’ll only send out alerts for testing — this is once a month — and then for an actual emergency.
C: For example, we’re having winter weather this week. So, with AtHoc, we’d be able to notify personnel that the post is closed or the post is on delay, tornadoes are in the area, or any information concerning an all-hazards incident that may impact the installation.
L: This doesn’t have to be a mass alert to the entire installation. If it would only affect a portion of the installation, we could just notify those personnel in the affected area. This is a major improvement for alerting the greater Fort Bragg population in conjunction with the other mass notification systems that Fort Bragg already has. We’ve never really had the ability to directly contact so many Soldiers, civilians and Family members before.
We’ve had it at the command level, but not at the private, specialist, sergeant, and the Family member sector. That’s why this system is so important, because it touches those people who are normally a lot further down the telephone call list, but they are receiving it, at the same time as, let’s say, the garrison commander would.
C: AtHoc, along with the rest of our mass notification systems — in conjunction with Giant Voice, the marquee boards, the internal building systems and AM radio station 1700, flashers and Commanders Channel (7) — our intent is to be able to reach 100 percent of the Fort Bragg population.
L: Fort Bragg will soon have 10 visual message boards at our primary access control points. So, by using all of these systems we hope to capture 100 percent of the population.
Q: When will AtHoc take effect?
L: Over the next several months, with May 1 as the goal for complete implementation. This week, the system administrators and the operators are receiving training from AtHoc. This will be followed by a media campaign and phased implementation.
Q: Why is this system vitally important for Soldiers and their Family members?
L: Because it can save lives.
C: It can reach out and touch people wherever they are.
L: It keeps people out of the affected areas. It keeps them informed, and that’s the goal — to protect the Fort Bragg population.