Everyone can recognize when a first responder is approaching by vehicle by the sound of the siren. Fort Detrick has an Early Warning System that provides various sounds of different warnings from Tornado to Shelter-in-Place to All Clear, obviously not heard in this article.
On the first Monday of every month, starting May 7, the Early Warning System (a.k.a. Big Voice) will conduct testing to ensure system compliance. The test will also acquaint the Fort Detrick community to the different sounds and their related meaning. It is imperative to learn the sounds in case of siren activation.
The Big Voice is meant for populations outdoors, so if the sounds do not penetrate building walls, do not worry. There are other systems in place that will reach you of an impending danger.
Mass Notification Systems are defined as: "all-encompassing systems that provide timely notification during emergencies both natural and man-made." The Mass Notification Systems for Fort Detrick is referring to redundant systems known as AM Alert Radio, Reverse 911, Computer Pop-Ups, Email Distribution List Notifications, Social Media, and Big Voice.
There are limitations to every system, but the intent is to inform 100 percent of the population within five minutes of an incident.
The key to the success of this intent is to have the participation of the Fort Detrick community. The next step is educating Fort Detrick about the systems employed to serve the intent. Education is an ongoing aspect of learning and complete understanding will not happen overnight.
The Office of Emergency Management for U.S. Army Garrison Fort Detrick will inform the public periodically throughout the year on important changes, upgrades, and overall issues that the public needs to be aware through the help and assistance of partnerships with Public Affairs Office and various First Responder and First Receiver agencies available to the community of Fort Detrick.
Newly arriving personnel receive a presentation of the Mass Notification Systems and potential hazards they may encounter during the Quarterly Newcomer's brief hosted by U.S. Army Garrison Fort Detrick. The first resource for weather and emergency information will Fort Detrick's AM Alert Radio at AM 1610. That station broadcasts National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather alerts and information 24/7.
The second resource to sign up on is Nixle (www.nixle.com) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SutainableFortDetrick). Those are free resources as well as the Fort Detrick Homepage (www.detrick.army.mil).
Frederick County Division of Emergency Management has a citizen alert notification system that we encourage you to sign up and receive alerts. Please visit www.frederickcountymd.gov/alert and click on the citizen alert link in the middle of the page to register for alerts.
The Fort Detrick website has informational resources for preparing the Fort Detrick community for potential emergencies. An essential element to remember is that disasters occur without warning.
It is important to learn as much as you can about potential disasters and preparedness kits that are recommended to have from www.ready.gov, an approved Federal Emergency Management Agency page.