Emory Report
October 15, 2007
Volume 60, Number 7

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October 15, 2007
Emergency siren testing to begin on campus

By elaine justice

Between Oct. 22 and Nov. 6, Emory will conduct tests of a newly installed outdoor siren system. The seven sirens, installed at strategic spots throughout campus, are part of the University’s comprehensive emergency notification system being rolled out this fall.

“No single technology can ensure that all members of our community will be alerted in time of crisis,” said Alexander Isakov, executive director of the Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR). “The installation and testing of these devices is another important step toward having a multi-modal, fully functional emergency notification program for Emory and its neighbors.”

The sirens will serve two purposes, said Robert Nadolski, senior administrator of CEPAR. Sirens will perform the traditional weather alert function, for example to warn of a potential tornado, and will be used to alert people of a crisis or emergency on campus. That general emergency alert, he said, “will be a signal for people to look to another medium of communication for additional information.”

What will you hear during testing? “Since the devices are capable of emitting a range of tones, we will be testing those and the public address function,” said Nadolski. The emergency notification system task force is developing a protocol for the sirens, spelling out types of warnings and simple, specific directives. This protocol will be communicated widely as the system is rolled out, said Nadolski. The sirens will be controlled from a console at Emory Police headquarters.

Where are the sirens? At the top of Peavine Parking Deck, top of Emory Children’s Center on Haygood Drive, top of Starvine Parking Deck, on North Gatewood Road (near Yerkes), near the CDC main entrance on Clifton Road, and the top of Michael Street Deck. A seventh siren is at the Briarcliff Campus, and the Oxford College campus also will have a centrally located siren.

How loud are they? “Their loudness will depend on where they are located and the terrain around them,” said Nadolski, but added, “You may not be able to hear them if you’re inside a building; they are primarily designed to notify people who are out and about.”

Bottom line? Listen for yourself.