The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) installed an outdoor emergency alert system on its main campus in March 2009. The system consists of two strategically placed alert devices that will warn the university community to take shelter in a major emergency, such as a severe weather event. The tones will be sounded only during major emergencies when the majority of the UNCP community will need to shelter-in-place in order to stay safe. When a UNCP community member hears the tones, he/she should take shelter indoors immediately, seek information from a variety of sources (information will be posted as soon as it is available), and wait for an "all clear" tones or message.
About the UNCP Outdoor Emergency Alert System
UNCP has seen the need for an instant notification system for the campus that can alert the campus community of major emergencies. An emergency alert tone system serves the purpose of notifying the UNCP community instantly if a major emergency is occurring on campus. While fire alarms can notify building occupants to immediately evacuate a space, the emergency alert tone system allows for a method of notifying students, faculty, staff, and visitors that a major emergency is taking place and to seek shelter to stay safe.
The UNCP Emergency Alert System is meant to be an outdoor emergency warning system that is used to warn people of the need to take shelter indoors. People who are outdoors on the UNCP campus will be able to hear the tones. Additionally, the tones will penetrate many buildings on campus so individuals inside may also hear the tones. However, because the tones are an outdoor warning system, it may not penetrate all buildings on campus. In these buildings, alternate notification methods will be used to alert the occupants of an emergency.
When the tone sounds, university officials will post information about the emergency as soon as possible. However, depending on the nature of the emergency, it may take several minutes for information to become available. For this reason, it is important that campus community members remain sheltered until an "all clear" has been issued.
There are several ways to seek out emergency information after the tone has sounded:
An "all clear" will not be issued until conditions are deemed safe by emergency officials. Therefore, depending on the nature of the emergency, issuing an "all clear" could take several minutes or several hours. All campus community members should remain patient and sheltered until an "all clear" has been issued. The tones will sound a second time on a steady tone for three full minutes to signify an "all clear."
The UNCP outdoor emergency alert devices are two 50-foot towers located on the north and south end of the university campus. The towers consist of 3 speaker cones that create a total of 800 watts of sound. The devices are capable of producing an attention tone followed by voice instruction. The system was purchased from the Federal Signal Corporation who serves several military installations, universities and nuclear facilities.
The system operates on a 12-volt system that is constantly monitored and charged as needed. If a power outage occurs the system is capable of operation for 12 days depending upon the duration of the tone a message.
The system is silently tested twice each day at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. and diagnostics or failures are provided to the master computer located within the police department. These systems are also equipped with tamper alarms on any part of the tower components.
The towers are noted as the north and south towers. The north tower is located at the corner of Braves Dr. and Hawk Dr. and the south tower is located in Lot 13 at the west end of Pine Hall. The tones emitted from the towers are detectable 1 mile from the tower; voice recognition can be heard one half mile depending upon obstacles or landscapes.
UNCP Police will activate the tones from the UNCP Police Dispatch Center located in the UNCP Police. UNCP Police will activate the tones only in major emergencies affecting the campus that require UNCP community members to seek immediate shelter for their safety. Example incidents in which the tones could be activated include (but are not limited to) a tornado warning or sighting in Robeson County, a major hazardous materials spill on or near the main campus, or an active shooter on campus.
In an emergency requiring shelter in place, the tones will sound as a 16 second "up" tone, followed by an eight second "down" tone.
When you hear the alert tone, take shelter immediately!
When the emergency has ended and shelter-in-place is no longer required, the tones will sound again to indicate an all clear. This tone will sound as a steady tone for three full minutes.
Neighbors in the surrounding area of UNCP's main campus will be able to hear the tones when the system is activated. In this case, neighbors should seek information in the same way UNCP community members will (i.e. by checking the UNCP homepage, calling the Emergency Information Hotline, etc.). The tones will warn surrounding neighbors of immediate hazards requiring shelter in place just as it will warn the UNCP community. Neighbors should take shelter as well, because an emergency requiring tones activation will likely not only affect the main campus, but also the surrounding areas. Neighbors will be notified about tones tests. If you are a neighbor to UNCP and would like to be added to the tones notification e-mail list, or if you have concerns about the tones system, please call Campus Police at 910.521.6235.
If you have any additional questions or comments about the UNCP Emergency Alert System, contact the UNCP Campus Police and Public Safety Department at 910.521.6235.
Updated: Wednesday, October 12, 2011
© The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
PO Box 1510 Pembroke, NC 28372-1510 • 910.521.6000