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Joe Foss Field Air National Guard Base "dialed in"

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Richard Larson
  • 114th Emergency Management
South Dakota Air National Guard Commanders can boast that unit members are truly "dialed in" when it comes to knowing what's going on. That's because the 114th Fighter Wing is first base in the Air National Guard to fully implement the new Desktop ALERT mass notification system. The system is a joint effort of Emergency Management, Communications Flight and the Base Command Post.

From severe weather to any major threats, when seconds count, the Joe Foss Field Desktop ALERT (DTA) system can blast out a message to thousands of airmen regardless of location. It's all about the lightning bolt, which is the symbol for the notification system many on base recognize from the bottom of their base computer screens. Not just base monitors, Desktop ALERT can also send messages to member's cell phones, smartphones, Blackberries, home computers, laptops and tablets. It's a powerful system that ensures when important word about anything has to go out, SDANG members will get it fast! Just register with the system and you'll get updates.

"It's a rapid and thorough system for getting information out to the base population quickly and efficiently," said Senior Master Sergeant Rick Larson, 114 Fighter Wing Emergency Manager. The system also interfaces with existing alert beacons and situational awareness monitors. It will eventually tie into the base Giant Voice PA system. Larson said the Desktop ALERT system has been running at Joe Foss Field for the past year and a half....and it couldn't be working out much better. "We've received a benchmark for how we've integrated warning systems from the Pentagon" referring to a recent visit from a DoD evaluation team.

Development of such systems were underway following 9/11, and the Fort Hood active shooter incident hastened the DoD to have full implementation standards" "We use it on a daily basis," said Larson. "It's used whenever there is a threat to our personnel, mission and equipment."

All base computers automatically get DTA notices and alerts. The system is persistent, prompting the attention of the person getting the message and requiring them to acknowledge receipt before the alert message will leave them alone - or until the next message goes out.

"It's a highly effective system" said Larson, "a system we've used to meet the goal of letting all members know what is happening, where it is and what to do within 10 minutes of any event. We use it for recall as well. We call tell who gets the message, how they received it and when."
"It will follow you no matter where you go," said Larson. "If you want notices and alerts, you have to make sure to update your personal profile data."

Updating is done on base computers by clicking down arrow on the PROFILE ICON next to your name in the upper right corner of the screen and plugging in new preferences, which cover everything from selecting what personal communication devices will receive messages, what key messages you want to get, to suspending the service due to a change of station or deployment.