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Campus-wide siren system passes the test

BOONE—Appalachian State University tested its new campus-wide siren warning system June 17. The sirens located on top of Farthing Auditorium and Sanford Hall, in Appalachian Panhellenic Hall and on poles at Appalachian Heights Apartments and the State Farm intramural fields emit tones and verbal messages during an emergency.

“The test went as we hoped,” said Gunther Doerr, chief of University Police. “During the first test, we had reports that the voice message was hard to understand, so we will sequence the messages differently which should improve clarity.”

Members of the campus community are invited to provide feedback on the test by filling out a survey at

Examples of the tones that might be used in an emergency can be heard at under “Mass Notification” and “Warning Tones.”  Appalachian will use the “hi/low” tone for emergencies; “discontinuous air horn” for tests of the system; the “alert” tone for all-clear signal and the “wail” tone for tornado warnings.

“All of the AppState ALERT systems are designed to reach different populations on campus,” Doerr said. “E-mail alerts reach those on the computer, cell phone alerts are sent to those who have signed up for that program and the outdoor siren system is designed to alert people who are outdoors on campus and away from their cell phone or computer. And we also want people to use word of mouth when they receive an alert.”

Installation of the siren warning system was funded through the UNC system as part of its campus safety initiative.

The sirens also are part of the university’s ongoing activities related to campus safety. In May, Appalachian conducted a full-scale emergency drill involving on- and off-campus agencies.

Faculty, staff and students can receive emergency messages on their cell phone by signing up at for the AppState ALERT emergency messaging system.

Doerr said the campus’s next priority is installation of security cameras in the campus residence halls.