Alert Carolina

Alert Carolina is an initiative started at UNC in 2008 as a way to improve campus safety in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting. Alert Carolina includes a text-alert system and sirens.

There are six sirens spread across campus that are designed to be heard by people outside. The sirens are used for four situations: an armed and dangerous person on or near campus, a major chemical spill or hazard, a tornado sighting or a different emergency determined by the Department of Public safety. The sirens are tested several times a year.

If the department determines a situation is serious but doesn’t warrant sirens, notifications are placed on the Alert Carolina website. The emergency situations committee determines if a text message is necessary.

They will send four different kinds of messages.

  1. Emergency warning is issued if there is a significant emergency or immediate threat to the health or safety of people on campus — such as an armed and dangerous person on campus, major chemical spill or a tornado warning issued for Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
  2. Timely Warning is issued if there is a continuing danger affecting the campus community and notification will not compromise law enforcement efforts — such as reports of a homicide, sex offense or robbery.
  3. Informational messages are issued if a situation is not an emergency and does not pose an immediate threat to the campus community, but is of significant interest to the campus. These messages are intended to tell people to be aware of a particular situation. For example, an alleged assault occurring on or near campus
  4. Adverse weather messages are issued when a tornado watch or severe thunderstorm warning is issued by the National Weather Service for Orange County.

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Alert system claims success

Tuesday’s test of the Alert Carolina system was marked in part by a drastic increase in the efficiency of the text message alerts. Nearly 40,000 text messages were sent in a fraction of the time it took to send the messages last year, said Priscilla Alden, assistant vice chancellor for ITS user support and engagement.


Alert Carolina has changed

The University will test its emergency sirens today between noon and 1 p.m. as part of the safety awareness campaign Alert Carolina.The campaign, which strives to be the go-to information source for the UNC community in times of crisis, has evolved since its conception in March 2008.


Alerting Carolina

Administrators are ramping up advertising of the University's emergency notification system this fall in an effort to combat low sign-up rates.


Siren test reveals some gaps

One minute before noon Wednesday, the Alert Carolina safety campaign launched with an emergency siren that could be heard – for the most part – all around campus.


Emergency sirens to be tested

UNC’s new emergency siren system is in place and will undergo additional testing this semester, University officials said. The four sirens are designed to alert those in the area of an emergency situation. Shaped like a stack of large, off-white discs, they are mounted on 50-foot-tall poles at three locations on the main campus and one other University-owned site. The sirens will sound in case of a tornado, an “armed and dangerous person” or a major chemical spill or other hazard in the area, according to the Alert Carolina Web site.