Federation Implements Emergency Alert System

Our new Chief Security Officer, Robert Wilson, is proceeding on schedule with the implementation of the Secure Community Network (SCN) – Emergency Alert Notification system designed specifically for Federations and their partner agencies, synagogues, and other Jewish community organizations. This system will enable us to provide timely information on multiple platforms in the event of an emergency that specifically and urgently threatens our community.

Participation in the program is free of charge to the participating organizations – the cost is covered by our Federation – and allows us to notify three or more individuals at each organization via text and/or email by our Chief Security Officer in the event of an emergency. This ability to communicate across the Jewish community to provide immediate information could be life-saving in a crisis situation.

“Hopefully the system will never have to be used,” Wilson said, “but if necessary, it will allow us to quickly disseminate valuable information about threats against our community. I will serve as a portal of information from our law enforcement partners including the Department of Homeland Security. If I become aware of something that poses a clear threat to our community, I can get that information out to community leaders in a matter of seconds. It also enables responses from recipients, so it basically serves as a forum for communicating with one another in times of crisis.”

The Security Director of the Baltimore Jewish Council described the following situation that occurred during their piloting of the system: “On January 18th, the JCC of Greater Baltimore received its second bomb threat in less than two weeks. On the day of the second threat I received a text message from the SCN National Alert System that bomb threats were currently occurring. I used the system to notify our JCCs, our Federation leaders, and respective facilities as well as all the major Jewish day schools and synagogues… as well as our local law enforcement. Our JCC in Baltimore received a bomb threat almost 20 minutes later but, thanks to the advanced notice, they were able to initiate their security protocols and were prepared to evacuate nearly 100 preschool children, employees, and visitors. If this had been an actual bombing incident, the advanced notification would have saved so many lives.”

Clearly, the more extensive and inclusive the level of participation, the more effective the system will be. The system allows for three points of contact at each organization. Federation will register the rabbi, executive director, and board president at each synagogue in the community as well as the executive director and board president at each agency. Designated emergency contacts will have the ability to opt out. The system will move into the testing phase as soon as registration is complete and is expected to be operational by August.

Feel free to contact Robert Wilson at rwilson@jfedgmw.org with any questions.