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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University to test sirens Aug. 20

The University will test the emergency sirens and text messages on Wednesday, Aug. 20 between noon and 1 p.m. The University tests the sirens each semester to make sure the equipment works.

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:

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,, 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 in University classrooms, offices, hallways in residence halls, laboratory spaces and accessible online. The poster outlines what faculty, staff and students should do when the sirens sound for a significant emergency or immediate threat to health and safety.

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. To support that system, the University updated Emergency Notification Protocols that inform the campus community using four types of notifications – Emergency Warning (sirens), Timely Warning, Informational Messages and Adverse Weather Messages.

In a real emergency, students and employees are strongly encouraged 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