INFORMATIONAL MESSAGE FROM ALERT CAROLINA: Chief Jeff McCracken Updates Campus About Alert Carolina

INFORMATIONAL MESSAGE FROM ALERT CAROLINA: Chief Jeff McCracken Updates Campus About Alert Carolina

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

With the successful test of the University’s emergency sirens and text-message delivery last week, I wanted to thank the campus community for supporting our safety awareness campaign, Alert Carolina.

We conduct tests of the emergency sirens every semester because our sirens and related text messages are the quickest way to communicate with people during an actual emergency. During the Sept. 17 test, text messages were sent to 41,000 unique cell phone numbers registered to students, faculty and staff, with 90 percent of the siren activation messages delivered within 3.5 minutes. That means 688 messages, on average, were delivered per second. We also sent 55,000 email messages to the campus community, with 90 percent of them received within about 17 minutes.

In an actual emergency, the sirens would sound if an armed and dangerous person was on or near campus, a major chemical spill or hazard had been reported, a tornado warning was issued for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area by the National Weather Service, or the Department of Public Safety determined that a different emergency warranted sounding the sirens. If the sirens sound during an emergency, people should go inside or take cover immediately, close windows and doors, and stay until the “all clear” message sounds. Every classroom on campus displays a poster outlining what people should do if the University issues an emergency notification (see, and we are in the process of printing additional posters for all our campus buildings.

The University’s Alert Carolina System Protocols, adopted in August 2011 and revised this fall, outline the different types of notification: Emergency, Timely Warning, Informational and Adverse Weather (see We modified the protocols this fall to group all adverse weather situations together unless a tornado warning is issued for Chapel Hill and Carrboro. In that situation, the sirens would sound so people could take cover immediately.

I hope you’ll take some time to review all the information on the Alert Carolina website, In addition to details about the different types of communication, there are frequently asked questions about campus safety and how to report something suspicious or what to do if you’re concerned about a fellow student or a co-worker (

You play a big role in helping us keep Carolina safe, so thank you.


Chief Jeff McCracken
Director of Public Safety

About Informational Messages: The University sends an Informational Message to inform the campus community about a situation that is not an emergency, but is expected to be of significant interest to the campus. An Informational Message is one of three tiers of communication under the University’s revised emergency communications plan. Emergency Warning refers to a siren activation for a significant emergency. And a Timely Warning is issued if there is a continuing danger AND notification will not compromise law enforcement efforts.Sponsored by the UNC Department of Public Safety