Emergency Alert Test Scheduled

New siren on campus to be tested July 11

By: Becky Beddoe

Walla Walla College recently obtained the former firehouse siren from the College Place Fire Department.  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 ready for testing.  The test will take place on Wednesday, July 11, between noon and 1 p.m.  Testing of the siren will determine its effectiveness as an emergency communication tool on campus.     

“Other possible solutions that we tested proved to be inaudible inside several campus buildings,” says Matt Heinrich, emergency planning coordinator for Walla Walla College.  “We have been told that this siren will be audible in Walla Walla, so we are hopeful that it will carry to the farthest corners of campus and be audible inside all of our classrooms, laboratories and offices.”  If the siren is not effective across campus, the college’s Emergency Planning Committee will explore methods to supplement the siren in certain areas. 

If the siren passes initial testing to determine if it is audible in all areas, regularly scheduled tests will be done monthly.  The monthly tests will take place on the second Wednesday of each month at 12:55 p.m.  These tests will 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.  

What does the siren mean?  If you hear the alarm sounding, find shelter indoors (stay away from windows), and check your cell phone and/or email for more information.  Secure yourself inside until told to do otherwise by authorities. 

In addition to obtaining the siren, WWC is now working with a third party to provide a text, voice, and email messaging alert service.  Information on these emergency alerts will be made available as the methods become ready for use. 

Walla Walla College also has a toll-free emergency information hotline.  Should an emergency take place on the WWC campus, the recording would be updated as necessary regarding the status of the emergency. The hotline number is 866-839-3489.   

For more information on the siren and other means of crisis communication on the Walla Walla College campus, contact Matt Heinrich by calling 509-527-2148 or emailing heinma@wwc.edu.

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