UAMS Plans Feb. 19 Test of Alert System; Neighborhood, Businesses May Hear Sirens

By Jon Parham

No action is necessary while UAMS tests the sirens and external speakers that make up this new system. Residents and employees of businesses within a four-block area of UAMS may hear the test.

The new alert system will be activated by the UAMS Police Department when there is a threat to life and safety on campus. Three siren/speaker arrays on rooftops of the Wilson Education Building, Biomedical I Building and West Central Energy Plant will sound a loud, distinctive tone, expected to be 114 to 120 decibels or equivalent to a thunderclap or loud rock music.

The tone, which will sound different from a tornado siren, will be followed by a verbal announcement of the test.

In the event of a real emergency, the system would be used to warn those on campus to take cover in offices or rooms until an “all clear” announcement is made. For those outside, near War Memorial Stadium or just off campus during a real alert, the sirens and announcements are meant to keep these people from coming to campus or inadvertently interfering with emergency response.

Quarterly tests of the system are planned. Tests will be on Wednesdays after the city of Little Rock completes its regular noon tornado siren test.

During the initial test, the tone could sound more than once in case volume adjustments are needed.

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education asked Arkansas universities to develop a campuswide emergency notification system following shootings on four state college campuses in 2009. The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees also asked all UA system campuses to follow the request.

For more information on the new system, visit www.uams.edu/codeblack.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a 540,000-square-foot hospital; six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,775 students and 748 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com.