AtHoc alerts Army Hawaii community about threats

| December 13, 2017 | 0 Comments

Karen A. Iwamoto
Staff Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Safety and preparedness are central to mission readiness, and Army Hawaii is reminding the community of a simple way to increase both.

The AtHoc Mass Warning Emergency Notification System alerts users to hazards and emergencies on and surrounding U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii installations. These may include warnings about hurricanes and tsunamis, electrical outages, road closures and bomb threats, among other things.

“It allows people to receive emergency information to protect themselves and their families,” said Francis Smith, emergency management officer for USAG-HI’s Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. “This is critical information that is put out within minutes of an incident.”

Enrollment is currently below Army Hawaii leaders’ goal of 90 percent, which they want to meet within the next few months.

By helping Soldiers, family members and civilian employees avoid potentially dangerous situations, the alerts could save lives, Smith said. This, in turn, supports the Army’s mission by keeping the force safe and ready to fight.

Although there are many ways for the community to receive emergency information – television and radio broadcasts, NOAA weather radios, outdoor sirens and other text-message-like alert systems, AtHoc is specific to the Army community. And unlike other programs, AtHoc also has the ability to help commanders plan for and improve their preparedness and response capabilities.

How to enroll

Signing up for AtHoc takes only a few minutes, Smith said, and Army Hawaii Soldiers, civilian employees and contractors who have Common Access Cards (CACs) may do so by logging on to their work computers and clicking on the purple AtHoc icon.

From there, they may follow a series of steps to activate the system. They may opt to have the notifications sent to their home landlines and cellphones, in addition to popup alerts on their computers.

Under the current AtHoc system, they may also opt to sign up one non-CAC-holding family member for the alerts. Smith said an option to add more family members is in the works.

When users change locations, they should remember to update their information in the AtHoc system.

The AtHoc system is also available as an app for iOS and Android smartphones. When downloading the app, make sure you are selecting the correct installation – USAG-Hawaii. Users must have an active email set up in the USAG-HI AtHoc Mass Warning and Notification system before downloading and installing the app.

Added security

In addition to the AtHoc notifications, USAG-HI also has “Giant Voice” loudspeakers that broadcast warnings at its installations. Besides voice broadcasts, these loudspeakers also broadcast emergency siren alerts, including emergency siren alert tests by the State of Hawaii on the first of each month.

There are “Giant Voice” loudspeakers on Schofield Barracks, on Wheeler Army Airfield, on Fort Shafter and at the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island. However, the broadcasts do not reach all areas of the installations.

AtHoc provides an additional way to ensure the community receives the alerts it needs to remain safe and ready.

Questions

If you have any questions about enrolling in the AtHoc system, contact your unit’s AtHoc end user manager.

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