Local News

N.C. State to Begin Testing Emergency Alert System

Posted September 27, 2007 6:27 p.m. EDT
Updated September 28, 2007 12:14 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina State University is moving forward with an emergency notification system through text messages, e-mails and siren warnings.

The university is expected to begin testing the system within the next few weeks before implementing it next year.

"We intend to notify people in a lot of different ways at the same time, so there's no overlap," said David Rainer, N.C. State's associate vice chancellor of Environmental Health and Public Safety.

With a 2,000-acre campus and 40,000 students, administrators said they need to make sure the technology is in place to effectively implement the idea.

For example, the university will have to test the system with cell phone providers to see if they can handle the number of text messages that would go out.

"The information we've received from other campuses is that we need to see how many messages we need or want to send in a given time frame," Rainer said.

Eleven posts have been placed throughout campus for the $250,000 siren system. Crews are expected to begin installing and testing it early next year.

State leaders and the 16 campuses of the University of North Carolina system have been looking at these ideas since the April shootings at Virginia Tech, in which a student killed 32 people and injured many more within a two-hour period.

"It's a good idea," N.C. State student Rashad Phillips said. "It's better than nothing and should help in the long run."

All 16 campuses in the UNC system are working on various crisis communication systems.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for example, is working on a similar alert system and hopes to have its siren system in place before the end of the year.