Campus Siren Testing Sees Results

July 11 tests prove only partially successful

By: Becky Beddoe

Meetings of the Emergency Planning Committee following the events at Virginia Tech in April produced an idea to utilize the former College Place firehouse siren on the WWC campus. The idea was to mount it on a building in a central location and use it as an emergency alert system.  

In the past, the siren was mounted on a pole near 4th Street and College Avenue. It was used to call together the fire volunteers from all around town for their weekly meetings and to respond to emergency calls.

The siren is now in the possession of WWC and was tested for functionality and effectiveness on Wednesday, July 11. Although the siren itself is in working order, it was virtually inaudible inside many of the campus' newer buildings.  

"We will need to consider our options carefully," says Matt Heinrich, emergency planning coordinator for WWC. The Emergency Planning Committee will meet within the following weeks to discuss possible solutions to the issue.

Regular siren tests have been scheduled to take place on the second Wednesday of each month at 12:55 p.m. These tests are intended to serve two functions. One, to ensure that the siren is still functioning, and two, to remind people that the siren is there and what it signals. Testing the siren will help people react appropriately in the event of an actual emergency.
“In an emergency, the siren will be a signal to take shelter and check for emergency information,” says Heinrich. “Taking shelter means finding a location indoors, away from windows and doorways, and locking yourself in.”  

In the event of an emergency, information will be made available as quickly as possible through various means. Plans are in motion for emails, web updates, telephone messages, a toll-free emergency information hotline, and text messaging. 

For more information on the siren or other means of emergency communication on the WWC campus, contact Matt Heinrich at 509-527-2148, or email him at

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