VCU tested their Emergency Alert System today at noon, sounding sirens, displaying messages on flat screen TVs in buildings, sending out text messages and emails, and updating their VCU Alert website. The previous test that was conducted last Fall was largely unsuccessful because the single siren on the Monroe Park Campus couldn’t be heard. Five were added on the campus, bringing the total to six on the Monroe Park Campus and ten total between that one and the MCV Campus.
Last time, I was in class at the Grace Street Theater, somewhat removed from campus. The sirens were still audible, though, even if it was somewhat faint. However, today when the sirens went off, I was in class at Hibbs, right next to one of the main sirens that’s mounted on the roof of the Cabell Library. I could barely hear it! In addition, I didn’t receive the text alert (nor did anyone around me) until a full fifteen minutes after the test! In my personal opinion, the test was yet another failure. In some classrooms such as mine, students would be unaware of an emergency, and text alerts coming in fifteen minutes late is ridiculous. The harm could already be done by that time. I think it’s a good thing that VCU is putting systems like this into place, but they have a long way to go to make it effective and useful.
Here are some pictures of the news coverage on Shafer Street outside of Hibbs today: