Alert Carolina Sirens Test and Changes to the Alert Carolina System – Thursday, October 11, 2018

The University will TEST the emergency sirens and Alert Carolina System on Thursday, October 11, 2018, between 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. We test the sirens and messaging system regularly throughout the year to make sure the equipment and notification processes work as planned.

During the test, anyone outside on or near campus likely will hear the sirens. The sirens are not designed to be heard inside a building or vehicle. The sirens will sound an alert tone along with a brief pre-recorded voice message.

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 fire or hazardous material incident;
  • A tornado warning for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area issued by the National Weather Service; or
  • A different emergency, as determined by UNC Police.

The University will also send a text message to cell phone users who registered their numbers in the online Alert Carolina Contact Information page available through the ONYEN services website. The University will post safety-related announcements on this website, along with updates. 

During this sirens test, NO ACTION is required. We 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. 

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, Crime Alert, 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 safe 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.

This fall semester test will also introduce important changes to the Alert Carolina system. Previously, when a thunderstorm warning or tornado watch were issued by the National Weather Service for Orange County, registered users received an email and text message notifying them of the warning. Now, the text message will be eliminated and only an email will be sent to notify the community of the thunderstorm warning or tornado watch.

Another important change this semester is the renaming of the “Timely Warning” category to “Crime Alert” in an effort to be more consistent with common practices. A “Crime Alert” is used to notify the campus community of any Clery Act crime that poses a continuing danger to the campus community as soon as the information is available so people can protect themselves and/or their property from similar crimes.