Keesler AFB: New speaker system will improve base security

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - As our nation mourns those killed in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, a South Mississippi base is testing out a new communications system officials there said will improve base security.  Next month, Keesler Air Force Base officials said they'll switch from a system with only a handful of speakers to one that will send out alerts faster should a dangerous situation arise.

Keesler officials said for years they've struggled to broadcast messages everyone living and working on the base could hear.

Capt. Andre Jackson said, "With those five systems we had to reach the entire span of the base. Of course, you have to turn that up a lot higher."

By upgrading to the Giant Voice System, Keesler officials said they've strategically placed 17 speaker towers on base and within off-base base housing sites.

 "We can turn this one off," said Col. Jeff Johnson. "We can turn ones in certain areas of the base on if we have a specific message we want to get to specific people on the base."

Right now Keesler is testing out the new communications system. Officials said the technology will allow them to make announcements alerting servicemen and their families of possible dangers ranging from severe weather to security threats.

"We could use it in the event that we had an incident that we wanted to try to tell people to stay away from a certain area,"said Col. Johnson. "Our command post has the ability to use these for voice communications. They can go out and give a message to stay away from a certain building on the base or stay away from a certain intersection. "

Capt. Jackson said, "We understand that we're in a very dynamic world so we need to be able to at a moment's notice get communication and information out to our members here on the base. In order to do that we need a system like this."

He continued, "If there is an incident on the base, immediately, we can get it out to every member on the base. "

Keesler officials say the Air Force is installing the Giant Voice System at all its bases. The speakers will broadcast the national anthem and other morale boosting messages.

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