Emergency Communication Enhanced with Sirens

March 4, 2008

The University of Houston is expanding its emergency communication efforts with plans to install three sirens across campus in April.

“UH will add civil defense-type sirens on the roofs of three buildings—the Center for Public Broadcasting, the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center and the Texas Learning and Computation Center Annex,” said Dave Irvin, associate vice president for plant operations and Emergency Management Committee chairman. “The sirens will be audible across the campus and for several blocks surrounding UH.”

Currently, UH communicates information about emergencies in multiple ways, including notification on its home page and e-mail and text messages. The sirens will provide “a great, low-cost system to fill in our communication gaps by alerting people when they are not looking at their computer monitors or their cell phones,” Irvin said.

The sirens, which cost $41,000, will notify the campus community using one blast.

 “Once they hear the sirens, faculty, staff and students should immediately go to other sources to get details about the emergency,” Irvin said.

The decision to install the sirens came in the wake of the fatal shootings at Virginia Tech University last year.

“After studying various possibilities, administrators decided to design and install an emergency siren system last fall,” Irvin said. “Implementation was delayed because of a backlog in obtaining equipment from manufacturers.”

Other Texas higher education institutions that own emergency siren system include Baylor and Texas Tech universities and The University of Texas at Austin.

Francine Parker