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USDA's Emergency Mass Notification System | Ag-AWaIRS

Applies to: Personnel working in the National Capital Region (NCR)


The Agriculture Automated Warning and Information Response System (Ag-AWaIRS) is the primary emergency mass notification system for personnel working in the National Capital Region. When the need for critical information arises, an emergency manager will notify you in a variety of ways, including:

  • Mobile Notifier Alerts (iOS/Android app)
  • Desktop Popup Notifications
  • Email Messages
  • Test/SMS Messages
  • Public Address System Announcements
  • Desk and Cell Phone Calls

You may receive an alert on one or more of these communication channels only if you have provided additional emergency contact details via the Ag-AWaIRS self-service portal.

Emergency alerts include, but are not limited to:

  • Building Closures
  • Severe Weather
  • Evacuations
  • Shelter in Place
  • Active Shooter

Alerts typically include a request to provide a response to one or more options. These responses allow emergency managers to confirm awareness and accountability of personnel. Please respond accordingly when asked to do so.

PDF: Ag-AWaIRS Overview & Update Guide


To ensure that you're informed of emergency events, you must provide and maintain your emergency contact details by updating them via the Ag-AWaIRS self-service portal.

How to Update Emergency Contact Information:

  1. On your government issued workstation or laptop, locate the system tray menu which is represented by an upward pointing arrow next to the date and time at the lower right side of your screen. Click on the arrow.
  2. Next, right-click the Ag-AWaIRS icon and select 'Update My Info.' A browser will launch connecting you to the self-service portal.
  3. Please provide your name, agency, location information and, most importantly, emergency contact details by entering and selecting from all available fields.
  4. Upon completion, select 'Save' to ensure the system records your changes.

    NOTE: If you do not have the Ag-AWaIRS icon, please contact your agency's IT support team and request the installation of the Ag-AWaIRS emergency notification system client file.

Be Prepared

If you're unable to follow these procedures for any reason, please email and our team will enter this information on your behalf. In the email, provide your preferred name, agency and government issued desk and cell phone numbers. We'll send you a confirmation email upon completion.

Video: Updating Contact Information
PDF: Ag-AWaIRS Overview & Update Guide


In addition to desktop popups, email and text notifications, Ag-AWaIRS now supports the use of an iOS/Android app available for both government issued and personal cell phones/tablets. It is recommended that you install this app on all of your communication devices, in addition to providing emergency contact details via the self-service portal, to ensure the timely receipt of emergency notifications at work, home or anywhere in between. No personal information is used or collected.

How to install the Mobile Notifier App

  1. On the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, search for 'BlackBerry AtHoc' and download the Mobile Notifier app with the 'Blackberry AtHoc' naming convention. There may be more than one version available, so please make sure the app you download is labeled 'Blackberry AtHoc.'
  2. Open the app and register using your USDA email address. Your email address must be added to your 'Update My Info' profile first.
  3. Check your government email for the verification link, open and select 'Verify Now'. A browser will launch confirming your registration.
  4. Go back to the Mobile Notifier app and, when prompted, enter the Organization Code. For the National Capital Region, enter Organization Code: USDAHQ

    NOTE: You can repeat this process on up to five (5) devices. If you have trouble connecting a device, please repeat these steps until you've received confirmation that you're connected.

Video: Installing Mobile Notifier
PDF: Ag-AWaIRS Overview & Update Guide