UNC to test sirens on Tuesday

Feb. 09, 2013 @ 03:29 PM

UNC students and town residents shouldn’t be alarmed Tuesday by the blaring of the university’s emergency sirens.
It’s only a test.
UNC will test its sirens Tuesday between noon and 1 p.m., as part of its Alert Carolina safety awareness campaign. 
The university conducts tests of its sirens each semester to ensure that the equipment works.
During the test, 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 are used in the event of a major emergency or safety or health threat such as an armed and dangerous person on campus, major chemical spill, tornado warning or other such emergencies,
“It’s a bit like a parachute,” said UNC public safety spokesman Randy Young. “You hope not to need one, but if you do, you certainly want it to work.”
Young said the siren tests are also needed to acclimate new students to the university’s warning system.
“The campus population is always in flux,” Young said. “One of the reasons we do this is because the population is different each semester.”
Public Safety Chief Jeff McCracken said the sirens are the quickest way to alert people on or near campus when there is a life-threatening situation.
“We conduct regular tests of the siren system to remind everyone what the sirens sound like and to help our students, faculty and staff think about what to do in an actual emergency,” McCracken said in a statement.
In addition to the sirens, UNC will send test text messages – one when the sirens sound and a second one to mark all clear – to the 50,000 cell phone numbers registered by students, faculty and staff.
Last year, the university put up posters in every classroom to help educate students and faculty about what to do when the sirens sound.
And as an additional safety measure, students and employees have been encouraged to register for the American Red Cross Safe and Well list (www.redcross.org/safeandwell), which provides a way for people to let their families know they are OK in the event of an emergency while keeping cellphone lines open for emergency calls.