Mass Notification Systems Tested at Naval Station Norfolk

Story Number: NNS061027-13Release Date: 10/27/2006 3:12:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kenneth R. Hendrix, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- A new notification system was tested in Norfolk, Va., by the Space and Naval Warfare System Center (SPAWAR) San Diego Oct. 23-25.

SPAWAR broadcast a message to Sailors and civilian personnel in highly populated buildings at Naval Station(NAVSTA) Norfolk. "This is only a test," boomed over the new mass notification system during the week-long testing of the Giant Voice/Inside Voice-Notification Systems (GV/IV-NS).

The mass notification systems is designed to provide real-time information to all personnel in those buildings with instructions about emergency situations to reduce any type of possible mass causalities. The reason for the new system is to notify personnel in a timely manner, as to what should be done in response to any emergency situation.

"Homeland Security developed requirements under the uniform fire code to provide mass notification systems," said Jim Macisaac, a SPAWAR systems engineer. "The target is to notify all personnel on any given base of pending emergency conditions."

Two of four types of structures being tested are the giant voice systems that provide outdoor area message alerts and the inside voice notification that announces messages inside buildings.

"We're making sure the volume levels are set at a good range and not blasting people's ears when heard indoors and outdoors," said Gene Lambert, NAVSTA Norfolk's emergency management officer. "The message needs to be loud enough and heard when indoors or outdoors without having any type of gargle in the message, so people can understand the alert."

The giant voice can be heard in an 800 yard (2,400 foot) radius from speakers atop towers throughout NAVSTA Norfolk.

"We have to get the message out to 70,000 people, depending on the amount of ships in port, within 15 minutes," said Lambert. "We can reach that goal with this type of system."

Mass notification systems enable NAVSTA to rapidly disperse important information and safety instructions in a quick and safe manner.

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