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July 14, 2009

Stanford to test new outdoor siren warning system Aug. 7

Stanford University will test its outdoor siren emergency warning system on Friday, Aug. 7, after installation is complete.

Testing of the seven-siren system will begin at 10 a.m. and continue at about 30-minute intervals until completed. The final full system test will take place at about 2:30 p.m. Each siren will run for no more than two minutes at a time.

University emergency planners say the noise level during testing will be at about 90 decibels near the siren source and about 70 decibels at the perimeter of campus, which is comparable to the volume of a vacuum cleaner. During each two-minute test, people on campus and nearby residents of surrounding communities will hear a warning tone followed by a verbal message, according to Larry Gibbs, associate vice provost for Environmental Health and Safety.

The new outdoor sirens are part of a comprehensive emergency warning system called AlertSU, which was instituted by the university over the past year. AlertSU can be used to notify the community of an immediate life-safety situation, such as a fire, a chemical or biological spill or an armed or dangerous person. In addition to the outdoor emergency warning system, AlertSU allows Stanford to send emergency announcements via phone, e-mail and text message.

The outdoor emergency warning system consists of seven sirens distributed across the campus. After consultation with homeowners living on the Stanford campus and Santa Clara County representatives, a siren has been mounted on 50-foot-tall poles along Arboretum Road, in Frenchman’s Park near Gerona Road and on Stanford Avenue across from Nixon Elementary School. The other four sirens are mounted atop the Lyman Graduate Residences, the Beckman Center, Meyer Library and the Hoskins mid-rise in Escondido Village. The high-intensity sound created by the sirens can travel up to a half mile.

After the Aug. 7 test, the system will be tested twice annually during April and October. Residents of neighboring communities can subscribe to e-mail notifications of future tests. Future test dates also will be announced on the university’s Emergency Information website.



Elaine Ray, director, Campus Communications; (650) 723-7162


Keith Perry, manager, Emergency Management; (650) 723-0448

Larry Gibbs, associate vice provost for Environmental Health and Safety, (650) 723-7403

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