UNC Asheville to Test New Outdoor Emergency Siren System on December 12
Thu, 12/10/2009 - 12:00am
UNC Asheville is completing the installation of a new emergency siren system and will conduct a full-volume test during brief periods between 3 and 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. The campus community as well as neighborhoods adjacent to campus may hear intermittent warning tones and spoken announcements. The test is to assess the volume and reach of the system.
The sirens, which are roof-mounted speakers activated by Campus Police, are part of a comprehensive emergency notification system being put into place at UNC Asheville, following recommendations made by the system-wide University of North Carolina Campus Safety Task Force. The task force was convened in response to the shootings at Virginia Tech. UNC Asheville implemented a system for text and voicemail alerts for students, faculty and staff in April 2009.
"UNC Asheville, just as other colleges and universities across the nation, must be prepared for a wide variety of emergencies," said Sylvia Farrington, UNC Asheville interim director of emergency management. "Ensuring the safety of our campus community is one of our top priorities. This audible alert system is one of many methods of emergency communication efforts including text messages, broadcast email, Internet postings and telephone messages. The audible warning system would only be used if there is an active threat to the safety of the campus, such as a tornado, explosion, nearby hazardous materials spill or an active shooter. The audible alerts can be heard in outdoor areas on campus and in neighborhoods immediately surrounding the campus."
The City of Asheville is assisting the university with Saturday's test by notifying adjacent residents and business owners through the city's emergency notification service CodeRED. The CodeRED system delivers customized pre-recorded telephone messages to targeted geographic areas. The city plans to send out messages about the test between 6 and 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10, said Dawa Hitch, City of Asheville public information officer.
With completion of the UNC Asheville siren installation, 16 of the 17 UNC campuses will have outdoor warning systems as part of their campus emergency notification process. Funding for UNC Asheville's $89,000 system was provided through campus safety funds allocated by the state legislature.