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Yesterday I grabbed my lunch from the cafeteria in one of the hospitals. As I was coming down the stairs I heard this siren and was wondering what emergency vehicle would be pulling up to the visitor entrance. However, it was very different like an air raid siren.

Then I remembered that UNC-CH was testing their new emergency notification system. Part of this initiative was based on the shootings at Virgina Tech, but they wanted a system to warn of severe weather (tornadoes) or any other condition that could threaten someone's life. They installed 4 new siren/PA systems across campus (30' pole with what looks like 10 miniature UFO's squashed together on top). It's LOUD! The one I heard yesterday was 3-4 blocks away. Besides the "air raid" siren they can speak instructions, but it's really hard to make out with so many large buildings around with echoes in every direction.

The whole experience was a bit eerie. Feels a little bit like we're in a war zone now. It's not quite the same university setting as it used to be. Things are always changing.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 20th, 2007 08:17 pm (UTC)
We had a system installed campus wide at our facility late last summer. It includes a public address system. At least they let us know when they're about to do a test, via e-mail and by an announcement over the system that there will be an imminent test...

They had some pretty cute fellas up on ladders and crawling around the floors laying wiring. I was always getting up and going to the bathroom on "butt crack check" when they were doing the installs.

Yes, it is a bit of sad commentary about the state of our world which we all share...

Dec. 20th, 2007 08:59 pm (UTC)
In Champaign, IL, we already had the tornado sirens in place as part of the standard IL tornado safety.

For sound reference:
Severe Weather long wails
Nuclear Attack short up and down wails.
All clear long wail allowed to trail off pause, x 3

In the Champaign setup, the sirens were operated via a radio tone system. They had to upgrade it after someone figured out they could record the tone sequence from a scanner, and then rebroadcast it with a rogue portable on county fire. As a result, sirens would continue to wail until issued the all clear. Most definitely not something you want going on during final weeks.

Hopefully, they improved/hard wired the system for your campus.
Dec. 21st, 2007 03:51 am (UTC)
Higher Ed has changed....
Higher education has changed forever... ECU is looking at the same type of system. I am sure it will be eerie for me as well. We are spending a lot of time and energy to prevent the somewhat unpreventable future event. I spend too much time thinking about it.

Hope you are well!

Dec. 21st, 2007 04:29 am (UTC)
Tornado sirens
After the May 3rd 1999 tornado - OKC beefed up their sirens - what a difference. I can hear them go off with the windows closed and the AC running while watching TV. And it is 4 blocks from my house...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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