VCU to test emergency communications on Wednesday including sirens

Don’t panic, this is only a test.

This Wednesday, September 3rd, at noon it’s going to get loud. Virginia Commonwealth University will conduct a full test of its emergency communication systems, which just happens to include 10 sirens throughout the Monroe Park and MCV campuses. Not only will they be testing their sirens all their methods of getting word out in a hurry will be put to the test.

Don’t panic it’s only a test. Below is a break down of exactly how VCU will be alerting all of us. If you aren’t already signed up for the Text Alerts (links below) it’s a great idea for students and Fan residents.

The following list contains more information about each of these alerting technologies:

  • Outdoor sirens: In a real emergency, the 10 sirens on the Monroe Park and MCV campuses will sound for four minutes to signal that an immediate, life-threatening emergency has occurred or may be imminent. The purpose of the siren is to alert people outside of campus buildings to immediately seek secure shelter and to receive additional information. No all-clear siren is utilized during tests, but one would sound in an actual emergency.
  • Text Messages: These messages are short, protective action statements that will contain a link to, where additional information is located. Parents and community members may sign up for VCU’s text message alert system at to receive information about campus emergencies and cancellations.
  • Alertus: These small yellow devices are strategically installed in classrooms, residence halls and other high traffic areas throughout campus. They are designed to provide an auditory and visual alert when a threat has occurred or is imminent. Much like text messages, a protective action statement will scroll on the screen during the threatening event.
  • Mass Email: All VCU email account holders will receive an email containing the safety recommendations related to the event.
  • Social Media: Alerting information will be posted to the @VCUNews Twitter account and the VCU Facebook page.
  • Digital Signage: Digital displays are located throughout campus with a particular focus in high traffic areas. These signs will display the emergency alert and reference information that is posted to Alertus boxes and text messaging.

After the semester test, monthly checks of the siren system are conducted at noon on the first Wednesday of each month consisting of a one-minute steady wail that also recharges the siren batteries.

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Richard Hayes

When Richard isn’t rounding up neighborhood news, he’s likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest craft beer.

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