The University will immediately notify the campus community after confirming that a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to health or safety is occurring on campus. In those instances, the University will, without delay, and considering the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and activate the notification system. However, if in the professional judgment of responsible authorities, issuing an emergency notification would compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to or otherwise mitigate the emergency, the notification may be delayed. In those cases, the University’s Chief of Police, or the ranking UNC Police Department officer in charge during his/her absence, will be notified, and once the potentially compromising situation has been addressed the emergency notification will be issued immediately.

Because these situations call for people to act immediately, safety officials will sound the emergency sirens, which are intended to be heard by people who are outdoors.

When the sirens sound—including during a test—the University also sends a text message to the cell phone numbers registered by students, faculty and staff in the online campus directory. Students, faculty, and staff can register their cell phone numbers in the campus directory to receive emergency text messages from the University by visiting improv.itsapps.unc.edu. On that site, they can enter their Onyen and password and list their (SMS-capable) cell phone number in the Alert Carolina field. Whenever someone updates their Onyen password, they will also be reminded to register their cell phone number.

Unless the cell phone in question is provided by and paid for by the University, the phone number will be treated as confidential information. Providing the phone number will not result in it becoming public, unless the number is marked as “public.” The University will only send text messages for a test and in an emergency.

In addition, the University communicates by updating alertcarolina.unc.edu and the UNC homepage, which triggers updates on official UNC Twitter and Facebook accounts, including those for the Office of New Student and Family Programs and the UNC Police Department.

Other means of communication are campus-wide email, the Adverse Weather and Emergency Phone Line (919-843-1234) for recorded information, the University Access Channel (Chapel Hill Time Warner Cable Channel 4) along with other campus cable television channels, and news releases for campus and local media.

Through the Department of Environment, Health and Safety, the University maintains emergency planning and evacuation procedures. More information about evacuation planning can be found on the EHS website.

The University will issue a Crime Alert (formerly called a Timely Warning) to notify the campus community of any Clery Act crime that poses a continuing danger to the campus community. The Crime Alert will be issued as soon as the information is available so people can protect themselves and/or their property from similar crimes.

If the UNC Police Department believes that issuing a Crime Alert would compromise efforts to address the crime, the notification may be delayed until the potentially compromising situation has been addressed.

The University communicates by sending a text message to the cell phone numbers registered by students, faculty and staff in the online campus directory. In addition, the University communicates by updating Alert Carolina and the UNC homepage, which triggers updates on official UNC Twitter and Facebook accounts, including those for the Office of New Student and Parent Programs and the UNC Police Department.

Informational emails are sent to the campus community to make them aware of situations that do not merit a Crime Alert but would otherwise be of interest to the University community.  Examples of situations that may result in the distribution of an informational email are when a crime or incident occurs outside of UNC’s Clery geography or when an incident occurs that is not a Clery qualifying crime but is nevertheless a safety concern.
There were no siren activations other than system tests in calendar year 2017.  Crime Alerts were issued in response to seven incidents, including two robberies, two burglaries, one domestic homicide, one incident of fondling and one incident of arson. These totals do not include weather-related events, for which there were 15 notifications.

For more information on the University’s policies and procedures in the event of an emergency, the University’s Alert Carolina System Protocols are available in their entirety.

Training and conducting exercises are essential to improving the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s ability to activate its emergency notification system and ensures that equipment and procedures are maintained in a constant state of readiness. All officers in the UNC Police Department participated in a simulated “active shooter” response drill during the department’s annual in-service training.  Vice Chancellors and other campus leaders also participate in a similar exercise. In addition, the University tests its emergency sirens twice per year and additionally as appropriate (e.g., to test significant upgrades as the system is periodically improved). In 2017, siren tests were conducted on February 1, June 7 and September 14.  The University also coordinates closely with the UNC System Office to fully participate in emergency preparedness activities and work being coordinated across the UNC system.