No Busy Signal

  • Published
  • By David R Hopper
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs
The weather is changing and Old Man Winter will soon blanket the landscape with beautiful, but dangerous snow. If you have lived or worked at Offutt for just one winter, you know one problem with bad weather is finding out if work has been delayed or cancelled.

The 55th Wing Public Affairs office is constantly working to keep everyone informed of all base closures and delays. For years, the main avenue of information was the snow and information line, 232-COLD.

The main drawback with that system is a lack of phone lines which can easily become overwhelmed on a snowy day. Adding to the frustration, public affairs representatives must call the same overtaxed number to update the information.

Last year Brig. Gen. John Shanahan, then 55th Wing commander, tasked public affairs to use new and alternate mediums of getting delay and closure information out. The Offutt Facebook and Twitter page were targeted as ways to get inclement weather information out with little delay.

This year, the public affairs office has added another way to get delay and closure information without having to pick up the phone or turn on the computer.

The new official Offutt_weather Twitter page allows people to get a text message automatically sent to their cellular phone, whether they are a Twitter user or not.

For Twitter users, simply follow Offutt_weather and ensure mobile alerts are activated.

For people who do not use Twitter, simply text "Follow Offutt_weather" to 40404. When delay or closure information is updated, the subscriber will receive a text message on their cell phone. To discontinue the service, text "Stop" to 40404 and they will no longer receive weather updates to their phone.

For those who do not have a text plan with their carrier and are worried about excessive text charges (standard messaging rates from your carrier do apply), it is important to note that only weather delay and closure information will be sent through this service.

There are a couple of smaller carriers who block this service. For those whose carriers block the messages, they will need to go to the Twitter web page to get the information. A Twitter account is not needed to check the status, people just need to click the Offutt_weather button from the base website.

The Offutt_AFB Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as the snow and information line will continue to have the delay and closure information as well.