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.
During the siren test, 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.
No action is required during the siren test. But we hope you have taken the time to review the poster, "What You Should Do For An Emergency Warning," posted online at this link.
The sirens are part of the University's Emergency Notification System and a communications strategy that uses multiple ways to reach students, faculty and staff, as well as visitors, local residents, parents and the public.
In addition to the University's emergency sirens, UNC Hospitals also uses overhead pages, text alerts, and email to communicate in emergency situations.
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.
You may also now access a mobile-friendly version of the Alert Carolina website during an emergency at http://m.alertcarolina.unc.edu.