What do the sirens look like?
There are three siren towers located around campus that have omni-directional speakers
at the top of each tower. Some people have likened the speakers to a large birdhouse
while other people have viewed them as Frisbees stacked on top of one another. This
unique design gives the speakers the capability of broadcasting sound or voice information
in a simultaneous 360 degree pattern.
Is this the only way the campus community is alerted to an emergency?
No. The University believes in redundancy in emergency notification. Although the
siren/PA system will be a prominent part of the University's emergency warning system,
all members of the University community should enroll in WCU Alerts and select another method for receiving emergency notifications.
What kind of sound will the siren make?
The sirens have the capability to emit a variety of alert tones. The University has
chosen to use a high/low tone to alert the community to an emergency. After the initial siren tone is complete,
a pre-recorded or live voice message will follow providing information regarding the
emergency and suggested follow-up actions. At the conclusion of an emergency, there
will be an " All Clear" signal indicating that the emergency is over.
Emergency Alert (high/low tone)
All-Clear (long clear tone)
Test (whoop tone)
What does it mean when I hear a siren?
A siren sound alert means that there is an emergency on campus, a potentially dangerous
condition, or impending threat. Tune into the University radio station WWCU-FM (90.5
FM) and listen for information and/or instructions. Emergencies would be a person
with a gun, flooding, a large building fire with toxic smoke or a chemical release
into the air, a HAZMAT incident, or the approach of severe weather.
Will all siren activations mean that there is an emergency on campus?
No. The sirens must be tested at regular intervals. The University tests the siren
system at noon on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Please remember this test day.
The test tone will sound differently than the emergency high/low tone. Additionally, there may be maintenance performed on a particular siren or the entire
system that requires activating the siren(s). In cases of siren/PA system maintenance
where it is necessary to sound the siren(s), the campus community will be notified
If I'm inside my resident hall, class, or office, will I hear the siren?
The siren/PA system is designed to alert people outdoors. Some people will be able
to hear the siren and PA indoors, depending on how close the indoor location is to
the nearest siren and depending on the volume of other noise indoors, such as a TV,
radio, or machinery. Since there is the possibility that people who are indoors may
not hear or clearly hear the siren/PA system, it is important to enroll in WCU Alerts and receive alerts through other forms of communication.
If I'm driving, will I hear the siren?
The siren/PA system is designed to provide all of the campus with audio coverage.
However, depending upon how close you are to the siren when it goes off, whether your
car windows are open or closed, and whether there is audio interference in your vehicle
from other sources such as a cellular telephone or stereo system, you may or may not
hear the siren.
How does the siren/PA system operate?
The siren/PA system will be activated from the University Police Communications Center.
The system is radio-operated using a dedicated radio frequency. The system is computer-controlled
using digital technology with a manual system back-up. During an emergency, the siren(s)
can be activated to turn one siren on or complete system activation. A back-up system
for remote operation exists. The sirens are monitored on a daily basis and problems
are reported to the communications center. For security, the sirens have vandal/tamper
alarms on them. If someone attempts to damage or break into the unit, the intrusion
will be reported and police will be dispatched to that siren location.
Why are the siren towers located at their respective sites?
The vendors who bid on the siren/PA system were required to conduct a campus visit
and site survey. As part of this visit and survey, they were required to identify
locations that provided optimum audio coverage for the campus. Therefore, the sites
at which the current towers are located were determined by the successful vendor to
provide this optimum coverage.