Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
The University will TEST the emergency sirens and text messages on Tuesday, February 28th, between noon and 1 p. m. We test the sirens each semester to make sure the equipment works. That equipment now includes the University’s sixth siren, which has been installed near the William and Ida Friday Continuing Education Center about three miles east of central campus.
During the test, anyone outside on or near campus likely will hear the sirens. (The sirens are not designed to be heard inside or while you are in a vehicle.) The sirens will sound an alert tone along with a brief pre-recorded voice message. When testing is complete, a different siren tone and voice message will signal “All clear. Resume regular activities.”
The sirens sound only for a major emergency or an immediate safety or health threat such as:
- An armed and dangerous person on or near campus;
- A major chemical spill or hazard;
- A tornado warning for Orange County issued by the National Weather Service; or
- A different emergency, as determined by the Department of Public Safety.
Then the University also sends a text message to cell phone users who registered their numbers in the online campus directory. In an emergency, the University will post safety-related announcements on the Alert Carolina website, along with updates.
No action is required during the siren test. But we hope you have taken the time to review the poster, “What You Should Do For An Emergency Warning,” that went up in all campus classrooms last month and is accessible on the Alert Carolina website, alertcarolina.unc.edu.
The siren procedures are part of the University’s Emergency Notification System, which outlines a communications strategy that uses multiple ways to reach students, faculty and staff, as well as visitors, local residents, parents and the public. To support that system, we launched Emergency Notification Protocols last fall that inform the campus community using three different types of notifications – Emergency Warning (sirens), Timely Warning and Informational Message. We will let you know soon about additional changes to the notification protocols based on our review of events that have happened during the current academic year including actual siren activations for tornado warnings in Orange County last September.
Also coming soon is a new mobile-friendly version of the Alert Carolina webpage to make it easier for people with mobile devices to access alertcarolina.unc.edu during an emergency. That website will anchor the University’s emergency communications. Details will be announced later.