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University to test sirens at noon on Saturday

Lamar University has installed emergency sirens as a part of its overall emergency response system, official said.

The Federal Signal sirens on campus broadcast at 130 decibels and are said to be audible for up to a mile away.

The university will briefly activate the sirens for a test at noon on Saturday, April 7. The university plans to briefly test the sirens on the first Saturday of each month at noon.

The test will verify that everything is working as intended, said Jason Goodrich, chief of police at the university. The sirens should sound for 30 seconds only. In the event of an actual emergency the sirens would sound for three minutes.

The siren will be the first indication of a situation requiring immediate action, officials said.  The campus police dispatcher activates the siren.

“If you hear the siren when it is not a test, you should make an immediate assessment of your surroundings because something is taking place on campus that is a threat to health and safety,” said Brian Sattler, director of public relations.  “You can expect to receive messages describing the situation through the Connect-ED system.”

The university’s primary emergency communication will take place through the Connect-ED system, a rapid communication system that reaches phones, cell phones, and text-enabled devices of university employees and students. In addition, the university will communicate through email and local news media in a developing situation.

Goodrich said circumstances that might lead to activating the siren include a shooting situation, a chemical release from rail or nearby plant that would require individuals to shelter in place, or a weather emergency such as a tornado.

“This is basically a very loud ‘heads-up’ call,” Sattler said.  “It means something very serious is happening and you had better pay attention.”