Sirens and PA System Being Installed, Tested at
The sounds of sirens are expected to be
attention-grabbers on the Homewood campus this
week — and that's a good thing. They're part of the
installation and testing of a new alert initiative,
which includes a public address system.
"There's no single technology or device that can reach
out to everyone at once. That's why we're
applying a multitiered approach," said Edmund Skrodzki,
executive director of campus safety and
security at Homewood. "We already have text messaging,
broadcast e-mail, telephone emergency
alerts, a Web page and bullhorns. The sirens are a very
effective way to alert people who are outside
on campus and in areas contiguous to the campus. They're
intended to alert the community to an event
that can pose an imminent threat. Now we have a very
The equipment, made by Whelen Engineering, is to be
assembled on Tuesday and installed on
Wednesday at Garland, Whitehead and the Recreation Center.
Each device will be tested for two or
three seconds to ensure that all connections have been
properly made. On an ongoing basis, the system
will do a silent self-test once a week and will be tested
live, along with the Johns Hopkins Emergency
Alerts text-messaging system, three times a year: once each
semester and again in the summer.
The sirens have two distinct sounds. A high/low
warning tone indicating imminent danger would
go out for one minute, and then the PA system would
broadcast a prerecorded message. The PA
system would broadcast sequentially — Garland, then
Whitehead, then the Recreation Center — to
assure that the messages could be heard clearly. The
siren's other sound, described as "an air horn
discontinuous tone," would broadcast for 30 seconds to
indicate an all-clear.
After the system is installed, the Campus Safety and
Security Web site,
will have more information, including sound clips.
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