By Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys
4th Space Operations Squadron
For many Schrieverites who work in windowless offices for hours on end, workdays often bring an inevitable sense of detachment from the outside world. Sometimes, days can move incredibly slow… that is, until you receive this email:
“The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has activated Reverse 911 in the area of Falcon Highway and N. Log Road because of reports of an African lion on the loose.”
In 2008, this was an actual email sent out to those signed up for the El Paso-Teller County Emergency Notification System. Although this was an extreme example, it illustrates the type of information sent out to ENS patrons.
Here, wildfires and tornados are a more plausible threat. According to the El Paso-Teller County E911 website, ENS advises of any situation that threatens harm to life and/or property or is deemed dangerous by officials. This may include, but is certainly not limited to inclement weather, man-made disasters, crime, pandemics, hazardous materials incidents and missing persons.
“This is another avenue for Schriever personnel and residents to get information in the event of an emergency,” said Col. Jonathan Webb, 50th Mission Support Group commander.
“ENS has the capability to place roughly 47 calls a minute,” said Ben Bills, Public Information Officer for El Paso-Teller Country 911. “In February of 2011 the system was put to use in the Schriever area to notify subscribers of a wildfire near Curtis Road and Highway 94. The system also sends out a notification when the ‘all clear’ is given.”
For those who live on base, emergency response is often a delicate balance between local law enforcement and security forces.
“Schriever, at least the land Tierra Vista community is built on, is proprietary jurisdiction, meaning we primarily follow local government requirements,” said Thomas Hanon, Schriever’s Housing Manager. “Some of the issues listed above would be directed in conjunction with local authorities and our own security forces personnel, depending on what the emergency is.”
It must be taken into account that some situations may cause residents to have to look beyond base support.
“What ENS does is marry military first responders with local authorities,” said Hanon. “In a situation that warrants members of the housing community to leave the base, such as a grass fire, it allows quick access to needed information. If there is a need to use the west gate as opposed to the north gate, or if Highway 94 is closed in a certain area, these are all things people can have knowledge of after local base support is in the rearview mirror.”
Registry for the El Paso-Teller County Emergency Notification System can be done easily online at www.elpasoteller911.org. The emergency notification system used by El Paso-Teller County utilizes information obtained from 9-1-1 databases and numbers registered through the Self Registration Portal. Notifications can be received via phone call, text or email. After registering, users can select what types of notifications they wish to receive as well as the format.