One of the ways Fort Campbell can quickly inform everyone in its footprint of an emergency is through the Integrated Public Alerting and Warning System-Wireless Emergency Alert.
Fort Campbell will test its IPAWS-WEA system at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The message will read “This is a test from the Fort Campbell Emergency Operations Center. This is only a test.”
IPAWS is a federal portal maintained by the Federal Communications Commission that allows the issuance of emergency messages to any IPAWS compliant warning systems, including the Emergency Alert System for broadcasters, some public warning siren systems, and the Wireless Emergency Alert system on newer model smartphones. Messages through the WEA system are one-way messages – from IPAWS to the recipient’s cellphone and other mobile device – that are free of charge.
The WEA system enables messages to target specific geographic areas by selecting only the cell towers in the area selected to receive the alert. Those cell towers then broadcast the emergency alerts for reception by all WEA-enabled mobile devices in a targeted area, no matter which carrier or service provider owns the tower.
Individuals off post, but close by in parts of Montgomery, Christian, Trigg and Stewart counties are likely to also receive the messages if their cellphone is using a tower on Fort Campbell.
A secondary method of emergency message transmission is AtHoc. This system delivers notifications via text, email, phone and social media to subscribers. The system uses a secure software platform designed for crisis communication.
Registration for the AtHoc system is highlighted in OPORD 066-16, and is directed by 101st Airborne Division command.
The AtHoc system is “designed to deliver immediate contact to users in the event of a natural or manmade emergency such as an imminent tornado or active shooter … with assured accuracy, real-time speed and the capability of user acknowledgement,” according to the operational order.
Registering for AtHoc can be done with a common access card through the Fort Campbell portal, located on the installation Intranet home page.
While registration requires a CAC, Family members may be added to the system by a CAC holder.
For anyone interested in more information on the IPAWS-WEA system, there is a free course available through FEMA at training.fema.gov.