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AtHoc, Inc., provider of enterprise-class, network-centric alerting systems for emergency notifications, today announced the availability of its new AtHoc Weather Alerts module. The AtHoc module integrates with the National Weather Service’s Emergency Managers’ Weather Information Network (EMWIN) to receive critical data – including weather warnings, watches and forecasts – and automatically send it to targeted personnel within military installations using AtHoc’s network-centric emergency alert system.

Military installations are creating sophisticated alerting systems to warn personnel about emerging threats. The focus is on full-spectrum force protection – meaning the threats can range from terror attacks to tornado warnings. While installations need to monitor all types of threats, the most common for domestic installations are weather related.

“While stateside military installations must be prepared to deal with military or terrorist attacks, their most common threat is Mother Nature,” said Ly Tran, vice president of business development for AtHoc. “The past few months illustrate the substantial damage storms can incur. Installations need to do everything they can to protect their personnel and equipment from harm. Tornadoes damage planes, floods destroy buildings, and dust storms can damage tanks and other sensitive equipment. Not only can such damage be dangerous, it is also incredibly expensive. Installations need accurate and immediate warning to protect themselves from harm.”

Monitoring the weather is nothing new to installations. In the past, military personnel would use conventional methods of monitoring weather such as radar, satellite and weather-band radio stations. If potentially dangerous situations were to arise, they would enter the information into their alerting network to warn installation personnel.

Today emergency operation centers can set parameters for the types of weather situations that qualify as emergencies, and then let technology automatically track the threat in real-time and alert the appropriate installation personnel when the criteria are met.

AtHoc Weather Alerts tracks EMWIN for weather that meets an emergency manager’s predetermined definition of a threat. For example, the emergency alert system can be programmed to only alert emergency managers when hurricanes reach a pre-specified category status, or when snow fall is expected to exceed a certain number of inches in a region close to the base. For each installation, the qualifications of a threat will differ, and the installation can easily tailor the product’s settings to help meet its needs.

Once the AtHoc Weather Alerts module identifies the conditions that meet the installation’s definition of a threat, the product’s delivery mechanism distributes the information to installation personnel via the emergency alert system. Emergency managers can decide if they want the system to alert their operations center first so they can qualify the situation before sending out an alert, or if they so choose, it can predefine target personnel across the base that would be alerted automatically by the AtHoc system if threat is imminent. Emergency managers can predetermine the instructions for action to include in situation-specific alerts sent out by the notification system.

AtHoc Weather Alerts module works in conjunction with AtHoc’s C2Alerts™ and IWSAlerts™ network-centric alerting systems. AtHoc C2Alerts monitors incoming intelligence from multiple sources, and upon meeting specified thresholds, the system automatically notifies designated users (commanders, intelligence officers, etc.) of current and predicted threats based on their role, self-subscription or need-to-know. AtHoc IWSAlerts provides a mechanism to alert military installations to pending threats. AtHoc Weather Alerts will benefit both products by serving as an important data feed for weather-related information.

Of note, while AtHoc Weather Alerts includes out-of-the-box integration with the National Weather Service’s EMWIN using CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) and RSS (Really Simple Syndication) formats, it can also work with other XML-based weather data feeds provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), FEMA or the Services. This ability to monitor and alert personnel to weather threats helps satisfy Service-specific requirements. For example, Air Force Instruction 10-2501 calls for installation warning systems in the continental United States to accommodate the weather-alerting systems provided by DHS, FEMA and the National Weather Service. AtHoc is the first network-centric installation emergency alert system providing this capability.

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