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For one installation, the Army’s new Digital Garrison mobile app could not have come at a more perfect time.

As Hurricane Laura, a category two hurricane, made landfall near Fort Polk, Louisiana, in early September, installation officials took advantage of the app’s features to notify Soldiers and residents.

“Digital Garrison app users saw our messages about safe havens, the locations of fallen trees and power lines and pertinent information about the American Red Cross,” Fort Polk Garrison Commander Col. Ryan Roseberry said. “Around 30 emergency messages were pushed out prior to the hurricane up through Sept. 9.”

Since Hurricane Laura, Fort Polk has been recognized by Installation Management Command for effectively utilizing the Digital Garrison app before, during and after an emergency.

In recent weeks, the installation has seen an increase in Digital Garrison app downloads with 630 new users to date, and Roseberry said he hopes to see that number increase especially with Hurricane Delta en route toward the Gulf of Mexico.

“Col. Roseberry was able to push out information on the Digital Garrison app about installation shelters as people were losing power and where to report housing damage,” Army Materiel Command Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Bob Harter said. “This is bringing installations from the industrial age into the information age, providing need to know resources all in one place, on the go.”

The Army partnered with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service to create an app that could be used on installations around the world.

“What we have is a single enterprise solution, so the app works across Army installations worldwide to provide garrison information at your fingertips,” Harter said.

Prior to the launch of the Digital Garrison app in mid-August, Fort Polk, an installation serving nearly 70,000 Soldiers, families, veterans and retirees, primarily communicated through email, multiple Facebook pages and the Joint Readiness Training Center Fort Polk app.

Now with the all-inclusive Digital Garrison app, Fort Polk is keeping its military community connected, by providing quick and easy access to quality of life resources, exchange services, Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs, real-time maps, dining options and more with the tap of a finger.

This ability for installations to directly communicate is especially important during the coronavirus pandemic, Harter said.

“With COVID-19, you sometimes don’t know what is open, so it is useful to see what the gate times and commissary hours are,” he said.

Another advantage of the app, Roseberry said, is the ability for Soldiers’ families to stay in tune with what is happening on the installation.

“With the Digital Garrison app, you can customize it to access information from more than 60 Army installations,” he said. “The families of these Soldiers want to know their loved ones are being taken care of while training here.”

The Digital Garrison mobile app is available for download on the Apple Store and Google Play.

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