The University will TEST the emergency sirens and text messages on Wednesday, October 28, at 6:30 p.m.
While we test the sirens each semester to make sure the equipment works properly—and the first test was a success—this second test is required because new equipment installed at DPS Emergency Communication Center and ITS Control Center need to be tested. The only way to test this update is to have an alarm activation. The new hardware will alert individuals in each location when the sirens are activated. Carolina also has never conducted an evening siren test. It is prudent to have an evening test to ensure overall readiness on 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 the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area issued by the National Weather Service; or
• A different emergency, as determined by the Department of Public Safety.
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, alertcarolina.unc.edu, along with updates. A mobile-friendly version of the Alert Carolina website can be found at http://m.alertcarolina.unc.edu/
No action is required during the siren test. We do encourage you to review the poster, “What You Should Do For An Emergency Warning,” posted in University classrooms, offices, hallways, residence halls and laboratory spaces. It is also accessible online: https://alertcarolina.unc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/AlertClassroomPoster.pdf. The poster outlines what faculty, staff and students should do when the sirens sound for a significant emergency or immediate threat to health and safety.
The sirens are part of the University’s Emergency Notification System and an integral element of the University’s communications strategy that uses multiple channels to reach students, faculty and staff, as well as visitors, local residents, parents and the public. To support that system, we follow the Emergency Notification Protocols in informing the campus community using four types of notifications – Emergency Warning (sirens), Timely Warning, Informational Messages and Adverse Weather Messages.
In a real emergency, we strongly encourage students and employees to use the American Red Cross Safe and Well List to let their parents and families know they are okay in the while keeping cell phone lines open for emergency calls. The Safe and Well list is especially helpful in communicating with family members who are outside the emergency area.