People don’t generally handle change very well, even if it’s for a better way to contact them in emergencies.
On May 14 Redstone Arsenal adopted the Armywide mass warning notification system known as “Alert!” After looking at the myriad of notification systems throughout its installations, the Army decided there were too many variations costing too much money.
So the Army developed Alert! and required that all installations implement it by January 2020. Redstone’s old notification system was AtHoc, which was installation funded.
For the past two months, the Installation Emergency Operation Center has spread word of the change through emails and wide circulation of an Alert! pamphlet. But predictably not everyone was prepared for the change. For example, when they received Alert! calls June 3 because of a road closure, some people expressed confusion about the Alexandria, Virginia-based number, 703-454-0563.
“We’ll continue to push out information as this program matures,” Mark Olson, chief of current operations branch in the Garrison’s IEOC, said. “And our plan is to have Alert! fully operational by January 2020.”
The new Armywide system has advantages. Under AtHoc, only about 12,000 employees could be contacted on post. “With Alert!, it’s an infinite number. There’s not a maximum number of people that can be on there,” Olson said.
If you are assigned to a unit identification code on Redstone Arsenal, you are automatically enrolled in the Alert! system. Each employee should update his or her information on the website, alert.csd.disa.mil. If you are temporarily assigned to another installation, you can add that location so you will be notified of emergencies there. That is another capability that was not available under AtHoc.
The Installation Emergency Operation Center is working with non-defense tenant organizations on post so they can become part of the new system.
“If they want to be added to the Alert! warning system, they need to get in contact with their organization emergency manager or point of contact,” Briona Brewer, an operations specialist in the IEOC, said.
For more information or if you have questions about the system, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.