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Outdoor Alert System to be Installed, Tested

A new outdoor alert system for Evanston campus will be installed and tested during the week of March 24.

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March 12, 2008 | by Alan K. Cubbage
A new outdoor alert system for Northwestern University's Evanston campus will be installed and tested during the week of March 24, University officials said.

If installation of the system proceeds as planned, regular monthly tests of the system will occur the first Tuesday of every month at 10 a.m., starting Tuesday, April 1. Municipal outdoor warning systems in Illinois are tested at that same time. Northwestern will coordinate the tests of its system with the municipal tests.

Installation of the loudspeakers is slated for March 26 or 27, depending on timing of the construction work and weather conditions. Testing will occur once the loudspeakers are installed and the system is activated.

The new outdoor alert system will consist of roof-mounted speaker arrays at several locations on the Evanston campus on the main campus and at the athletic complex. The system will be able to broadcast brief spoken messages, both pre-recorded and live. The system can make the traditional siren sound used by municipalities to warn of severe weather and also make other emergency tones.

The outdoor system is designed to enable the University to communicate with those people who may be outside on campus. It is not expected that messages broadcast via this method will be audible inside buildings on campus.

On the Chicago campus, an outdoor alert system does not appear to be feasible at this time, so the University is considering public address systems for inside buildings.

The new alert systems are part of Northwestern's efforts to improve emergency communications. Earlier this year, the University contracted with an outside vendor to provide an emergency notification system that allows the University to quickly call, e-mail and send a text message to students, faculty and staff. That system was tested successfully in January and used to send a notice of a weather-related class cancellation in February.
Topics: University