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Understanding DENS

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ashlin Federick
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
From the blizzards of 2003 and 2010 to Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, Dover AFB is no stranger to inclement weather. In addition to official 436th Airlift Wing channels, the Delaware Emergency Notification System is a useful tool for emergency notifications.

DENS is a reverse 911 call. It is similar to the AtHoc Installation Warning System Alerts (AtHoc IWSAlerts™) except instead of being activated by the base it is activated by the state of Delaware.

Once a person is registered at the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, they are categorized by zip code so when a hazard occurs in an area, DENS can notify the residents in that area only.

"For example, if you lived in Magnolia and there was a HAZMAT spill on Route 1, [DEMA] would be able to activate a warning for that area and anyone in that zone, instead of having to send out a mass notification throughout Kent County," said Tech. Sgt. Miranda Mal, 436th Civil Engineer Squadron plans and operations NCO in charge.

David Mick, Kent County Management lieutenant of special operations, said DENS allows DEMA to send out pre-determined messages for inclement weather or record a message in special instances.

"An example was when we had an accidental water break that caused a small community to be without water," said Mick. "DENS allowed DEMA to notify residents of the area about the break and what they were doing to fix the problem."

It is recommended that when people register for DENS, they input the dependents in their household so everyone gets the notifications during a hazard, especially when a loved one is deployed.

"Many spouses don't get the notifications, especially when their loved ones are deployed, because people don't think to put their dependents on their call list when they sign up," said Mal. "When people think of AtHoc they think of exercise notifications, they don't think of real world situations."

Residents can register for DENS by calling (302) 659-3362 or visiting dema.delaware.gov.