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.
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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.
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.
Administrators are ramping up advertising of the University's emergency notification system this fall in an effort to combat low sign-up rates.
Alert Carolina is the primary emergency alert system for UNC, delivering thousands of texts in a matter of minutes.
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.
When UNC’s new sirens are tested today, officials will have a better sense of how effective their overall emergency alert plan is.
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.