CE keeps SJAFB safe and sound

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kylee Gardner
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

With a shop of only three members, running the alarm notification systems for an entire base can be a lot of work. However, the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron alarm shop makes it look easy.

The alarm shop provides maintenance support for all of the installation’s fire alarms and mass notification systems, the gates and their barriers, troubleshooting motor systems, hangar door electronics and more.

“Every day as soon as we get to work, we set our stuff down and immediately go to our monitoring system, where we check all of the facilities’ alarm systems on base to ensure everything is working correctly,” said Tech. Sgt. Michael Whittenberg, 4th CES alarms systems non-commissioned officer in charge.

Recently, they have been working on standardizing all the emergency notification systems at each building on base.

“Some facilities were wired completely different than others,” Whittenberg said. “If Command Post were to push one notification to the base alarms, which might be labeled with the ‘All Clear’ notification, could be the ‘Active Shooter’ or ‘Bomb Threat’ notification in another building.”

After completing this major renovation project, the team focused on training in order to reduce the need for civilian contractors. Over the past two years, their training qualified the three-member team to complete jobs previously done by contractors, saving the Air Force roughly $4 million.

One qualification consisted of them being able to repair fire alarm control panels in multiple dorm buildings. Contractors were initially sought after to perform this job, but reported it would take six months and approximately $320,000. Whittenberg and his team however, completed the project in four months and only spent $20,000.

“We are constantly training,” said Jeffrey Rhodes, 4th CES electronics technician. “Every time a contractor has to come on base and work on our systems, we make sure our team is out there with them so they can train us on how to fix things ourselves next time.”

Because of the 4th CES alarm shop, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base has been able to ensure mass notifications and alarms will be relayed correctly and on time.

“The firemen are the ones who save the lives,” Rhodes said. “But it’s our alarm systems that get them out the door.”