What Exactly is That Orange Alert System?


11_18_Happenings Students across the Syracuse University campus thought they were a lot more popular than they actually are last Wednesday morning when they got an early morning text and phone call from a random number. These people quickly realized it was not the individual they met at a turnt-up Tuesday event the night before confessing their love after-first-meeting, but a test of the SU Orange alert system.

Some of us are already familiar with this alert system from freshmen orientation — it was used to temporarily make those fresh out of the Connecticut suburban freshman feel temporarily less terrified of their surroundings. And since then, maybe we’ve heard a professor or two reference it at the beginning of the semester.

The system is run by the Department of Public Safety, described on their website as “designed to provide rapid notification and instruction to SU students, faculty, and staff, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry students in the event of a crisis in progress.” The website says that, when in use, Orange Alert will utilize “various communications mechanisms” to update staff and students on whatever the situation is and what they should be doing. These mechanisms include the basic email, text, and voice call, but the always-interesting DPS spices things up and tacks siren systems on to the ways they will alert us. The website then provides a link to an entire downloadable PDF file of what to do when you hear the siren. For those who simply cannot wait to hear the sirens in use, there is a link to a sample mp3 of the sirens tone.

The sirens work in conjunction with the other “mechanisms” of the alert system. This is a good thing at a school where sirens could very easily be mistaken as the sounds of over-zealous basketball fans or hyped fraternity brothers. The DPS website tells us to “immediately seek shelter indoors and look to electronic media for further information about the crisis” when we hear the sirens.

After hearing all of this, we can again be reassured that the brave employees of the DPS department have got our backs. While we are on this campus, we have nothing more to fear than being impaled by a falling icicle.

Art by Shawna Rabbas