CHICOPEE — Workers at Westover Air Force Reserve Base are expecting a very bad day Thursday.
Lightning is expected at 10 a.m., followed by gusts of more than 60 mph, followed by a tornado. In the afternoon, the base would be attacked, followed shortly after by a hazmat incident, followed by an active gunman.
Oh and they’re playing the national anthem at 5pm
“We did a system-wide upgrade to our speaker system and now have more speakers in more places,” said Rodney Furr, director of public affairs for Westover.
Between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., crews will use a series of pre-recorded messages to test the improved system.
While the announcement will begin with “This is a test,” Air Force officials warn those who live nearby that the announcements are not real to prevent a repeat of “War of the Worlds,” Orson Welles’ 1938 radio show Mars Invasion The fictional broadcast of the show caused widespread panic, as many people missed the pre-show disclaimer explaining that it was fake.
Westover has a long list of pre-recorded messages mostly from Air Force Headquarters. Over the course of about five hours, each of them will be tested — including announcements such as bush fire warnings and sweeping clearance statements, Furr said.
Shelter-in-place orders alone have multiple levels, Furr said, from the low-level ones that require checking the identity of anyone entering any building, all the way up to locking office doors and drawing shutters.
He said the public address system was designed for people working in Westover, but there were many homes and businesses nearby and people often heard what was being broadcast.
The most common comment from the public is that they love hearing the national anthem that is played at 5pm every day and the base is also played at 8am to wake up
Foer said he remembered hearing the national anthem at a pool party in South Hadley. About half of the guests were from Westover, and everyone stopped splashing water and stood at attention until it was done.
While some are used to hearing Westover’s announcements, especially since systems are inspected weekly and simply say “it’s a test,” the revamped unit and extra speakers will have more range, while some People then did not have what he said, would have heard before.
For example, the backcourt, which was previously used for many different types of training, was out of range of the speakers. While people working in offices will get alerts with specific information on their computers, people working in the field may not get those alerts and hear thunderstorms and lightning coming their way, he said. alarm.
Part of the warning, Furr said, was to prevent a flood of calls to police dispatchers in Chicopee, South Hadley and Granby during the flurry of announcements, because if residents heard a tornado warning or a shooting, they might Would call 911 instead of Westover.