UNC-Chapel Hill’s test of its emergency siren system has been canceled, due to a real emergency: Hurricane Michael.
Universities periodically test their outdoor sirens to make sure they’re working properly. They warn the public that a test is coming to prevent panic and confusion.
UNC had planned its test for Thursday at noon and 12:30 p.m., almost exactly the time weather forecasters say heavy rain will fall in the Triangle as the storm moves through. Hurricane Michael made landfall early Wednesday afternoon near Mexico Beach in the Florida Panhandle.
Late Wednesday, the university said in an email that the siren test was off.
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After the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech, the federal campus safety law known as the Clery Act required colleges and universities to implement timely warning procedures and emergency notification systems. The law requires annual testing of emergency procedures.
According to a UNC news release, the university tests its sirens each fall, spring and summer.
The sirens are part of UNC’s Alert Carolina safety awareness system. They warn the campus in cases of emergency such as an armed person on or near campus, a fire, a hazardous material spill or a weather event such as a tornado warning.